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Covering both pop songs and classical pieces and often combining the two, the singing string quartet Well-Strung is part boy band, part chamber ensemble founded in 2012. They broke onto the classical and classical crossover charts with their second album, 2015's Popssical.
Well-Strung was conceived by producer/manager Mark Cortale and group member Chris Marchant, a graduate of Malone College with a degree in music ministry. Marchant had moved to N.Y.C. in 2010 to find work in musical theater. He earned roles in both off-Broadway productions and in the national touring companies of Broadway shows including Spring Awakening and Sweeney Todd, sometimes playing an on-stage violinist. Cortale approached Marchant after seeing him in a Cape Cod production of the musical revue Naked Boys Singing! Deciding to move forward with their concept, the pair held auditions in New York for the remaining spots in the quartet in early 2012. Marchant was soon joined by violinist Edmund Bagnell, violist Trevor Wadleigh, and cellist Daniel Shevlin. They played over a 100 shows in their first year together and self-released their first album, Well-Strung (aka The Singing String Quartet), in 2013. It offered well-known classical tunes alongside pop hits, including songs made famous by Adele and Kesha. The album Popssical followed in 2015. Featuring rearranged mashups of Miley Cyrus and Grieg, and the Black Eyed Peas and Mozart, among others, it proved to be their commercial breakthrough, reaching number nine on the Billboard Classical Albums chart.
Marchant and Wadleigh went on to compete as a couple on the 30th season of reality show The Amazing Race, which aired in early 2018. Later that year, Well-Strung released their third album, Under the Covers, and went to number four on the classical chart. It offered pairings of Radiohead and Schubert, and Lady Gaga and Vivaldi among 12 tracks that also included an instrumental version of the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun." ~ Marcy Donelson
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