"Cleftos means family" answered 85% of the current members of the Cleftomaniacs when asked right before this year's annual homecoming concert what single word they would use to describe their feelings about the group (the two outliers were Natty, who said "farts", and Tiger, who said "minions"). One look at that plethora of beaming faces above will hopefully tell you that this isn't just something we feel obligated to say: each and every one of us knows that we are more than just a music group, that our bonds run deeper than our monotonous and repetitive bass parts and are tighter than our unnecessary clusterchords. Through thick and thin, Cleftos stick together, and even when we're not dressed up in pristine ironed dress clothes and letting the gentle light of the ethereal sun dance upon our faces through the lense of an HD camera we still look around at each other and see one of the most genuinely beautiful groups of people we've ever met, inside and out.
Homecoming is always a great chance to expand our family for a few days, inviting back like-minded alums to add their real-world steeped faces to the collective and share their experiences with us to ensure that we know that we are not in any way prepared to step beyond the traquil Utopian bubble-world of college. This year we had a fantastic turnout, with plenty of excited familiar faces twinkling in the audience ready to see what their successors had cooked up, and also Mac Harris, who looked as if no punishment could be severe enough should we have slid into mediocrity in his absence. Alumni such as Dan Kent and Kaeden Cooke had the rare opportunity to look on as younger members picked up the solos they had left behind, a great way to bridge the gap between the generations and remind us that no matter when we were in the group we are all members of the same Cleftomaniacs. At the end of the concert, as per tradition, we invited all of our alumni up onstage to sing our alumni song, Elton John's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight", featuring all six members of the Junior class as soloists (albeit a year early) while our past members giddily whispered to us how happy they were that we weren't absolutely terrible.
It doesn't really matter what our concert sounded like, though, because the most important part of the performance was the faces of each member as they looked around at each other and realized all over again how blessed they were to get to sing together. Cleftos truly does mean family, and another sixteen years from now I'd be surprised if I didn't see familiar faces staring up eagerly from the pews of the Wren Chapel.