In December, UNC’s oldest a cappella group was invited to perform at the White House.
The group sang James Bay’s soft rock song “Let It Go.”
First-year international student Patrick Dow, who is a member of the Clefs, said it was incredible meeting the president — especially having only been in the United States for a semester.
“We got invited to sing at the White House, and at one point, we were not sure if we were going to actually sing for President Obama,” Dow said. “We were told we were going to sing in one room as the president’s guests entered for a Christmas party.”
Eventually, they were told they would soon perform for the president and first lady.
“They told us he was going to walk in, shake everyone’s hands. We would get to meet the first lady as well, and it was going to be a small meeting — just in and out.”
But meeting the president was only one of the group’s many accomplishments this year.
Sophomore Clefs president Chris Burrus has found that this year in particular has been a growing one for the Clef Hangers.
The group has expanded their audience base, sold out several shows and performed at new show venues.
“This year, on both a personal level and a group level, is a much bigger and much more involved year,” Burrus said.
“Our group has tackled new feats, and we have traveled more than any other Clef group in the past.”
Burrus said the experience has been worthwhile and a great means for gaining exposure.
“It’s been really rewarding for all of us to be able to see our hard work have some sort of payoff for people who might not have even known our name before we started traveling on the tour,” he said.
But even though the Clefs have been traveling more, senior Channing Mitzell has found that the group finds a piece of UNC wherever they go.
“We can sing in front of a crowd that has over 1,100 people who want to hear us and want to feel some sort of college nostalgia again because obviously 90 percent of our crowd are Tar Heels.”
The Clef Hangers try to incorporate classic UNC anthems.
“We are really lucky we get to share the kind of music we love with other people. It’s really cool because when we are interacting with the crowd and we are putting on these performances, we always end our concerts with ‘Hark the Sound’ and ‘Carolina in my Mind,’” he said.
In fact, Mitzell said “Carolina in my Mind” typically receives the most attention.
“It makes UNC feel a lot smaller, and it makes the world feel a lot smaller, thanks to the UNC connection.”