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Notes on Mini-Tour

Junior Rachel Wilf describes our January weekend tour to Philadelphia.

I have to admit, when I heard that Glee Club wasn’t having a winter tour I was disconsolate. Glee Club tours have given me some of my favorite memories of Yale. How could a “minitour” possibly live up to past trips? For all my reservations, our minitour to Philadelphia completely won me over. For those of you who didn’t get the chance to join us, here were some of the highlights from our time in the City of Brotherly Love:

On Saturday morning we had free time to wander around our hotel in the heart of downtown Philadelphia. I took a walk to Rittenhouse Square, while others visited some of the many downtown museums. Groups went to the Franklin Institute of Science, the Academy of Fine Arts, and to the Mutter Museum. The group that went to the Mutter museum came back with the best stories, since the museum features all things human and odd (if you ever want to see over 2,000 items that have been “swallowed and removed” from the human body, this is the place for you).

In the afternoon, we were lucky enough to have a workshop with students at the Settlement Music School. The Music School is in an airy, beautiful building and draws students from the Philadelphia area and New Jersey. We had a chance to listen to the students perform and to spend some time talking with them about college, music, and where to get the best Philly cheese steak.

The definite highlight of the trip for me was our concert at The Microsoft High School of the Future, a charter school in West Philadelphia. The Glee Club performed alongside two Yale a cappella groups, Red Hot & Blue and The New Blue, and the fantastic St. Thomas More Gospel Choir. I can’t quite describe the sound of the gospel choir except to say that they had the entire auditorium clapping by the end of their set. During our performance we got the chance to return to some of our most beautiful music from the fall semester, including “Weep You No More” and “Ye Shall Have a Song.”

Saturday night we were welcomed into the homes of Yale alumni in the Philadelphia area. My hosts took us out for delicious Japanese food in a futuristic restaurant called “Pod,” where colored buttons on the walls allowed you to change the mood lighting in the room. My host was a Glee Club alum who told us stories about singing on the stage of Carnegie Hall in the 1980s.

After a restful night we reconvened in the morning in the historic district of Old Philadelphia for a morning of (somewhat rainy) sightseeing. After a brief stop at the Liberty Bell and a final Philly cheese steak for lunch, we got back on the buses to head home to Hendrie Hall.

During our weekend in Philly we had time for bus games and sightseeing, for workshops, concerts, and homestays. Most importantly, we had the chance to spend time with each other. I got to talk with Glee Clubbers I already know and love as well as many of our (fantastic) new members. Here’s to a great start to the semester!

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