Academy a cappella group performs at White House

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The Air Force Academy's a cappella group In the Stairwell performed at the White House for a holiday reception Dec. 9.

The group was approached by the White House Social Office and asked to submit samples of their music to be compared to other performers. A couple of weeks later, they were notified that they had been selected for the performance.

"I remember getting the email from the other cadet in charge, Cadet (2nd Class Erik) Clark, saying, 'You're not going to believe this. We just got contacted by the White House,'" said Cadet 1st Class Julian Gluck, the cadet in charge of In the Stairwell, who also beat-boxes and sings bass. "I said, 'The White House? Like where the President lives?' ... It just blows my mind."

"I thought it was a joke," said Cadet 1st Class Kevin McMullen, one of the main baritones in the group. "It was kind of just a prospect at first, but once we got the final word, we were pumped."

Even with finals right around the corner, the cadets weren't willing to pass up an opportunity like this.

"As cadets, we're used to being under a lot of pressure with our academic and athletic requirements," Gluck said. "A lot of us have been working ahead of time, and (we had) time to study on the plane."

During the performance, the group went back and forth between traditional holiday songs and some of their current pop routines, Gluck added. The event also allows the group to showcase some of the many talents of cadets at the Academy.

"When you think of the Academy, you don't think of the male a cappella group," said Cadet 2nd Class Trey Lowman, a mid-range singer for the group. "This gives us a unique opportunity to show people we're not just about military training and athletics; we have so much more we bring to the table."

In the Stairwell was created when members of the Air Force Academy's Class of 2007 had to find a location for freshmen who enjoyed singing together. The name came from where the group met for rehearsals.

(Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs.)