[Pacific Lutheran Scene]
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-- Alumni --
Dieveney '90 sheds trench coat but still reaches for the stars

By Linda Elliot, Editor

The Coats
Tenor Jaime Dieveney '90 (left) has spent the last 10 years writing, arranging and singing lead for The Coats, a group that had to change its name after it was mistaken for the Trench Coat Mafia affiliated with last spring's Columbine High School massacre. The Coats performed at PLU's Raspberry Festival in July. (www.thecoats.net)
It's ironic that the Trenchcoats a cappella singing group fronted by tenor Jaime Dieveney '90 could be mistaken for the Trench Coat Mafia affiliated with last spring's Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colo.

Not only are these four of the nicest guys you'll ever meet this side of the Mississippi, they've spent the last decade taking their family-oriented message of acceptance, peace and harmony to youthful audiences all over the country.

But, two days after the killing spree at Columbine, CNN and 20/20 inadvertently gave out their Web site address as that of the Trench Coat Mafia's.

"It was terrible," said Dieveney, who lives in Federal Way, Wash. "It was almost like having the name Ted Bundy."

Overloaded with hate mail that Dieveney describes as "very scary, weird stuff," the site crashed. This outpouring of ugliness was foreign to the group which, in 1994, swept the National Harmony Sweepstakes and is well-loved for its smooth harmonies, innovative song writing and lively stage performances.

The group, which is made up of four 30-somethings from the Seattle area, consulted a PR firm and decided after much consternation to change its name to The Coats. The group's message, which can be heard in songs such as "Nice to Say" from the "R U Up?" CD, remains the same.

"It (Columbine) actually turned out to be a good thing for us," Dieveney reflected. "It amplified our philosophy and made us look in new directions."

Dieveney, who writes and arranges most of The Coats' songs, said the group was going through a bit of a transition anyway. Their fourth CD is set to be released in October and it features full instrumentation - a definite shift from their a cappella roots. They're also aggressively pursuing a recording contract, seeking that "next level" in the entertainment industry.

"We've been very fortunate to have been successful and to have been able to do this full-time for so long. Now we're hoping to reach a broader audience and expand our outlook."

Learn more about The Coats at www.thecoats.net

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