The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday October 23rd

A cappella traditions differ

All-male a cappella groups the Clef Hangers and The Achordants have both enjoyed well-attended concerts in the past, but other than their ability to draw large crowds, the two groups are more different than they are alike.

This weekend, both groups will offer their fall concerts to the community.

Founded in 1976, the Clef Hangers pride themselves on their long-standing tradition of musical excellence both within the campus community and on a national level.

“We’re one of the oldest groups on campus and one of the oldest a cappella groups in the country, so people have that recognition of our tradition,” said Anoop Desai, president of the Clef Hangers.

The Achordants tout their diversity as the quality that sets them apart from other a cappella groups.

“We have to make new fans each year because we don’t necessarily have the name recognition that the older groups have built,” said Kevin Wenzel, president of The Achordants.

The history of both groups is evident in their different approaches to everything from recruitment to publicity.

“When people come to Carolina as freshmen and are auditioning for the Clefs, they already know about us, so that helps a lot with recruitment,” Desai said.

The Achordants work to attract new singers year-round by increasing their recognition on campus.

“If we know of some raw talent on campus, we’ll do our darndest to get them to consider auditioning for us,” said Andrew DiMartino, the group’s music director.

Like most a cappella groups, the Clef Hangers and The Achordants use Pit sings, cube painting and Facebook to advertise their gigs.

The Clef Hangers also rely heavily on sorority sings to fill seats and offer block seating at their concerts for sororities and fraternities.

“It’s no secret that most of our audience is part of the Greek community,” Desai said.

The Achordants’ publicity is more unusual, often featuring a life-size wooden version of “Achordants Man,” a superhero that embodies the culture and identity of the group.

Even the two groups’ concert attire serves as a testament to their unique personalities.

The Clef Hangers’ commitment to tradition is reflected in the bow ties and vests that they have donned during their concerts year after year.

The Achordants, on the other hand, do not require members to wear a specific uniform.

“This conveys the idea that we work as a composite of many ideas, backgrounds and personalities, rather than as one no-questions-asked unit,” DiMartino said.

While there is some friendly competition between the two groups, their relationship is amicable.

“There’s always going to be some innate competition because we are competing for the same singers,” Desai said. “But it’s not like we’re having gang fights on the street.”

Contact the Arts Editor at

Attend the concerts

The Achordants Fall Concert
8:08 p.m. today, in Hamilton 100
The UNC Clef Hangers Fall Concert
8 p.m. Saturday, in Memorial Hall

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


Welcome Back Edition 2021

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive