The Choir is an atmospheric alternative Christian rock band, led by Derri Daugherty on guitar and vocals, Steve Hindalong on drums--who also writes most of the band's lyrics--as well as Tim Chandler on bass, Dan Michaels on lyricon, electric flute and saxophone and Marc Byrd on guitar, the latter of whom is a relatively recent addition to the band's lineup.
Each band member also has a depth of musical history outside of The Choir: Hindalong produced the wildly successful City On A Hill albums in the last few years, writing the well-known song "God of Wonders" with fellow band-mate Byrd. Daugherty has been been a member of Christian-alterna-pop-supergroup The Lost Dogs since 1991, with Hindalong recently joining the group. Chandler has been the bass player for years for Daniel Amos. Byrd was a member of Common Children, and recorded with his wife Christine Glass as Glassbyrd.
The music of The Choir has been described by the Los Angeles Times as "magical songs that combine strains of murky psychedelia with pure pop." Billboard praised the band for its "dark poetic leanings, effects-laden guitars and strong melodic hooks." In 1984, they became the first band ever to play at the Cornerstone Festival, the preeminent Christian arts and music festival in the United States.
By 1986, the band dropped the "Youth" from their name and began calling themselves simply The Choir. Hindalong began writing most of the lyrics for the band at this point, songs that are known for their vulnerability and honesty, particularly about the challenges inherent in romantic relationships and the simple joys of family life. Some fans and music critics consider this period — between 1987's Chase the Kangaroo and 1990's Circle Slide — as The Choir's artistic height, although others have argued that their most recent trio of albums represents an even greater creative resurgence, evidenced by the band's first Grammy Award nomination for their next-to-newest release, Flap Your Wings.
Although the band has long had a passionate cult following among listeners of Christian alternative rock, that did not translate into great financial success within the Contemporary Christian music, or CCM, industry, nor did it lead to a successful mainstream crossover experienced by other groups like Switchfoot and Sixpence None the Richer, members of which have pointed to The Choir as a creative influence. As a result, the band nearly called it quits in 1996 after their final national tour, a few years after Daugherty, Hindalong and Michaels moved from their homes in Southern California to Nashville, Tennessee, since much of the CCM industry is now based there. The difficulty of this cross-country move also made its way into the lyrics of the band's songs, primarily Speckled Bird.
The Choir's tenth and most recent full-length studio album, O How the Mighty Have Fallen, is a return to the dreamlike rock sound of Chase the Kangaroo and Circle Slide, thanks to the influence of producer and new band member Marc Byrd. Released independently, the album deals with more personal topics than much of their later work, touching on some painful subjects in the recent lives of the band members.
On August 19, 2005, The Choir played a 20th anniversary concert in Irvine, California along with 4-4-1, Altar Boys, Crumbächer and Undercover, in order to acknowledge the Christian alternative music scene which developed under the aegis of Calvary Chapel in the early 1980s. Although The Choir had essentially quit touring, the overwhelmingly positive response to this one-off concert led to a short series of tour dates to support O How the Mighty Have Fallen in the early part of 2006. A DVD of the Irvine concert is also forthcoming.