December 20, 2017

Children’s Choir Cantus Performed at White House

A WHITE (HOUSE) CHRISTMAS: Cantus, Westminster Conservatory Children’s Choir, and conductor Patricia Thel recently performed holiday songs at a White House event for diplomats. This was the ensemble’s seventh White House holiday performance since they were first invited to perform in 1999.

Cantus, Westminster Conservatory’s Children’s Choir, and its conductor, Patricia Thel, performed at a White House holiday reception on December 6.

This was their seventh White House holiday appearance. Their first invitation to sing came in 1999, after conductor Thel sent a recording of the ensemble to the White House social office. In 1999, the choir performed in the East Room for a party for White House volunteers. Hillary Clinton welcomed the children, talked to each child, and shook every hand. The Secret Service let the children play with the Clintons’ dog, Buddy, and their cat, Socks. After singing, the children toured the White House and spent time in every room.

Each subsequent trip has been a little different. The choir has sung holiday music for parties and for public tours. In 2003, the choir sang for Laura Bush at a holiday party during which she thanked the children for their performance and recognized their accomplishments. They sang twice more during the Bush administration for tours and parties. They sang twice during the Obama administration for holiday tours. Each time they sang, they were treated to cookies created by the White House chef and toured the White House after their performance.

On December 6, they made their seventh trip to the White House, to sing for a White House tour and reception that was exclusively for diplomats. They sang in the Grand Entrance of the White House, surrounded by beautifully decorated trees, and performing accompanied by the famous Roosevelt Steinway.

The Community Music School of Rider University’s Westminster College of the Arts, Westminster Conservatory offers classes and private lessons for all ages in Princeton and in extensions in the surrounding areas. For more information about the Conservatory Children’s Choirs and other offerings, visit or call (609) 921-7104.