December 5, 2012
The UNC Asheville Singers, also known as the Studio 18 vocal ensemble, will perform at the White House for a reception hosted by President and Mrs. Obama and attended by hundreds of dignitaries and invited guests.
The ensemble will board a bus for the nation's capital December 12; the time and date of the reception have not yet been announced on the White House schedule. The UNC Asheville Singers, the university's premiere student voice ensemble, is directed by Melodie Galloway, assistant professor of music.
This performance will mark the UNC Asheville Singers' sixth consecutive year of holiday appearances at the White House, but this will be the ensemble's first chance to sing before an invited audience at a reception. Previous performances have taken place in the White House atrium, where the ensemble entertained VIP tours for the Holiday Open House.
In addition to its White House appearance, the UNC Asheville Singers will perform a Thursday, Dec. 13 luncheon concert at the U.S. Department of State for officials and employees. On Friday, Dec. 14, the ensemble will perform for the "wounded warriors" – soldiers injured on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan – at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
"This a life-changing experience for many of our students," said Galloway. "It is incredible to see their faces when they walk into the back rooms at the White House and realize we are really there. Singing at the White House always gives us a sense of the grandeur of our nation, and visiting Walter Reed, talking with the soldiers, is profoundly moving."
"It is such an honor, coming from a small university, to be invited to sing at the White House," said junior Elizabeth Acker, who will be making her third trip to Washington, D.C. as part of the ensemble. Acker is a Spanish major, with a minor in music, and she is a member of UNC Asheville's women's swim team.
"Making the trip and singing at the White House has been a lot of fun, but the best part is singing for the soldiers and being able to give back to them and thank them for their service and sacrifice," said senior David Waters, who is making his fourth White House appearance. Waters, a music technology major who will graduate in December, will rush back from Washington to sing the National Anthem at the UNC Asheville Commencement ceremony on December 15.
The members of the UNC Asheville Singers who will perform in Washington are: Joseph Tracey III, Anna Testa, Carolyn Brown, Chris Gaffney, Austin Freer, Sarah Sanders, Larkin Dodgen, Robert Tepperberg, Zach Monard, Sam Irvine, Sarah Ristaino, Caitlin Sands, Erica Metcalf, Kadee Schwall, David Waters, Elizabeth Acker, Parker Heck, Michelle Arielle McIntyre, Anna Goodman and Dustin Hooper.