Throughout the fall semester, Canvas will follow several of UNC’s student a cappella groups, looking and listening to what makes each unique.
In this first installment of the series, staff writer Everett Handy looked at the dynamic nature of the UNC Walk-Ons.
It’s more than just their choice in matching Carolina blue footwear that makes the Walk-Ons stand apart from the pack — it’s their shared determination.
Last year, the Walk-Ons arranged and covered a variety of music, ranging from pop hits such as Zedd’s “Clarity” and Beyonce’s “Countdown,” to their popular “Disney Villains’ Melody” and Etta James’ “At Last.”
The co-ed group enjoys performing for UNC students — they’re likely the singers drawing a crowd in the Pit each Wednesday night with their weekly “Wednesdays with the Walk-On’s.”
“What makes us unique is partly our music selection, but also the people in the group,” said Turner Davis, a senior music major and the music director for the Walk-Ons.
“We like to do a range of different things with our songs, like this year we’re doing a choral version of 'Hurt' by Johnny Cash. It’s partly the different music but it’s also the personalities of the people,” he said.
According to Davis, Walk-Ons members traveled together to a small cabin in Banner Elk, North Carolina, for a music retreat last weekend. There they worked on music for the upcoming semester, relaxed and got to know their new ‘Baby Walk-On’s.’
“We got up early and sang all morning and only now in the afternoon are we taking a break,” said Walk-On’s president and journalism major Madeline Hurley, while the group was on retreat. “It’s good to see everyone’s laying around eating, cuddling and getting to know each other better. It’s really good for the group being secluded up here.”
The group’s objective is to create a productive, positive atmosphere for each other, where they all can learn and grow musically together.
And being close friends only adds to their music.
“There are definitely some characters in the group,” said Jesse Barnes, a sophomore biology major and tenor for the group. “One is definitely Turner (Davis). He’s very animated and wise. We sort of look up to him as a father-figure and he’s also our music director. Kyle (Conroy) is another, he keeps the group lively and so does Madeline (Hurley). She’s very level-headed and keeps the group running well.”
Talking about stories of the group from his first day with them last year to their performance at the ICCA competition in Durham, Barnes said he thinks the Walk-Ons can only get better from here.
The Walk-Ons are returning in full force this year with their weekly performance on Wednesdays, their fall semester concert and their new CD, hoping to prove that they don’t need to be oldest group on campus to dominate the a cappella scene.
All they need is their Carolina blue Chuck Taylor’s and a song to sing.
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