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The Daily Tar Heel

Singers Contend With Fan Culture

A typical show at Memorial Hall for two of the major a cappella groups at UNC is a sight to see. A sold-out house of screaming fans awaits the talented musicians, and when the singing starts, the screaming doesn't stop there.

The daily lives for these musicians isn't quite as exciting as a show at Memorial Hall, but they do get some attention simply walking around campus. Members of popular a cappella groups like the all-male Clef Hangers and the all-female Loreleis know the benefits of small-time fame.

Rebecca Andrews, a senior business major and current member of the Loreleis met her boyfriend, a Clef Hanger, through her involvement with the Loreleis.

They met in the spring of 1999 and had their first performance together in the fall of the same year. After that performance they became good friends and began dating one year later, in the spring of 2000. They are still dating.

Andrews said this is not an uncommon situation. There is "a lot of intergroup dating" between the Clefs and the Loreleis, she said.

But instead of finding their perfect match, many members are perfectly content having a group of close knit friends.

Catherine Cheng, a sophomore journalism major, considers the women of the Loreleis to be her best friends -- friends that she would not have made otherwise. Being part of the group has enabled her to meet people all over the country who have interests similar to her own, she said. She also keeps several friends from an a cappella group at the University of Virginia.

As for being a local celebrity on campus, Cheng says she is "flattered" when strangers recognize her from one of the Loreleis' performances.

David Bankert, a freshman biology major, finds being approached by strangers occasionally "annoying," but he enjoys the recognition of being a member of the Clefs, he said.

"There is nothing like being a Clef Hanger," he said. "It's a kind of unique experience that's almost like a fraternity -- the brotherhood." He did not mention much about any romantic relationships resulting from his membership in the Clef Hangers, but he said he is perfectly content with the friends he has made.

Senior business and Japanese major, Cameron Russell, is a longtime member of the Clefs and considers the impact the a cappella group has on his social life to be one of its greatest perks.

Many of his current friends were once strangers who approached him after a show and said, "You did a good job." One thing usually leads to another and friendships are often formed, he said.

Considering the number of performances in any given week, that can lead to a lot of friendships. Eventually, those screaming fans quiet down.

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