The Nor’easters, Northeastern’s award-​​winning stu­dent a cap­pella group, got the sur­prise of a life­time on Sunday when the young vocal­ists got the oppor­tu­nity to sing a hol­iday song for Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and the first lady.

All 15 mem­bers of the group had trav­eled to the White House to per­form for guests at a hol­iday party, during which they sang 10 hol­iday songs and a few con­tem­po­rary pieces in a 20-​​minute set. Then they learned their next audi­ence would be the Obamas.

We were all in shock,” said Jessie Litwin, SSH’16, the group’s busi­ness man­ager. “[The pres­i­dent and first lady] were awe­some and so friendly. When we were done singing, they talked to us and asked how finals went.”

The group learned about the oppor­tu­nity to per­form at the White House ear­lier this semester from fellow North­eastern stu­dent Klevis Xharda, who was on co-​​op in the White House Social Office. The Nor’easters were asked to pre­pare a 60-​​second per­for­mance in addi­tion to their other set, but they weren’t told why.

Nor’easters Pres­i­dent David Crozier, E’14, spec­u­lated that the White House wanted to film the shorter per­for­mance for future use. It turns out it was for the Obamas. “We were speech­less,” Crozier said. “It was just an incred­ible end to the semester for us.”

The group per­formed an arrange­ment of “Joy to the World,” which the Obamas seemed to enjoy. “They were dancing to the music,” Litwin said.

Some group mem­bers were ner­vous in the moments leading up to their per­for­mance for the pres­i­dent and his wife, Michelle, but the anx­iety quickly dis­si­pated. “I think everyone was too hon­ored to be there to feel ner­vous,” Litwin said. “They shook all of our hands. It was so cool.”

In prepa­ra­tion for the White House per­for­mance, the Nor’easters prac­ticed every day for more than a month and put on another show on Dec. 6. Rehearsing while also studying for finals was a little hectic, Crozier said, but the group made it work.

We treated the White House per­for­mance as the final for our group,” he noted.

Ear­lier this year, The Nor’easters won top prize at the Inter­na­tional Cham­pi­onship of Col­le­giate A Cap­pella. Since then, the group has trav­eled more and per­formed for a variety of audi­ences, which now include the pres­i­dent and first lady.

That win has led to some amazing oppor­tu­ni­ties,” Crozier said.