Saturday, November 20, 2010

She's with the band.

Kate Carter '12 on divided allegiance, the YPMB-YGC football game, and transcendence of ancient hatreds.

I am, as my Glee Club bio aptly puts it, a Benedict Arnold, a traitor to the cause of Glee Club domination. After failing to cajole, coerce, or otherwise convince me, YGC left me to the ranks of that menacing and bizarre force, the Yale Precision Marching Band, in the annual epic

showdown of musical powerhouses. The YGC-YPMB football game. A battle of glee against “precision,” of spirit, of “Y’s.” The score is unimportant (*coughthebandwoncough*). Vastly outnumbered (think 300), facing an opponent honed by weekly practices and killer duck-duck-goose matches, the Glee Club put up a valiant fight and emerged battle-worn but proud.

I believe YGC’s efforts can be best described in the words of our manager and one of two fear-inspiring captains, Rachel Wilf: “Our all-star freshman (Ben Lewis, Connor Kenaston) played brilliantly, Atid Kimelman chose to play on our side instead of on the side of the YPMB-ers, some members from 2010 showed up (John Good and even Pete Clune) and the altos (Rebecca Trupin, Phyllis Thangaraj, Cynthia Weaver and I) were balanced out by our wonderful sopranos (Helen McCreary, Mari Oye, and Monica Qiu)! Derek Tam was an excellent QB, Dylan Morris ran barefoot, Adam Fishman was awesome enough to play without his glasses, Phyllis skipped studying for her midterm to run over and join us, and Daniel Cruse struck fear in the hearts of the YPMB runners.”

However, let me clarify. I did not play. See, I would be a handicap to whichever team I joined, and I don’t wish that on either side. Instead, I focused my efforts on cheering on the band while still quietly applauding YGC successes.

While whiling away my time on the sidelines, I learned some things that just can’t be taught by midterm-stricken textbooks:

1. “Bulldog, bulldog, bow wow wow…!” applies to all Yalies, not just the band…No matter what, Yale wins!

2. The show must go on. And the game must go on. So when you have a chamber singers performance and a football game that conflict, be prepared to get dirty, make a quick change, and catch your breath before breaking into beautiful song. Take a leaf from the YGC’s other fearless captain, Derek Tam’s book. He was a champion.

3. Touch football can be just as dangerous as that stuff you see on TV. Well, at least, dangerous enough for a bunch of Yalie music nerds. Get ready for lost glasses, rolled ankles, near-broken arms, and bone-crunching landings on the sidewalk.

4. A corollary: don’t put your end zone right next to a sidewalk. Concrete and momentum. Not a good combo.

5. Midterms can’t get us down. That’s what I love about Yale, especially the groups that I have

come to call my families: the band and, of course, the Glee Club. We never are too busy to take a moment and stop taking ourselves seriously (or maybe take a moment to take trivialities exceedingly seriously). Football and donuts in the middle of the New Haven Green, on a Sunday afternoon before one of the toughest weeks of the semester, and some of us spent the day

before in performance and some will spend the next hour in performance. Score.

So the Glee Club can shake off the dust from the battlefield and focus its ferocity on its next foe (or frenemy? Rather in the YPMB vein, but less cool), the Harvard Glee Club. As we put it at every halftime show: Harvard’s team may fight to the end, but Yale…Will…Win!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Memory, Leg-Breaking, Heels, and Sherbet

New member Ari Susu-Mago '13 on our
Family Weekend Concert

Like many things in the not-so-distant past, my memories of my first YGC concert are still fairly fresh (as far as memories go), but enough time has passed that they have distilled themselves into discrete moments; these pockets of clear recollection are surrounded by a fuzzy knowledge of what happened in between these moments (there's rather a difference between knowing that you hung out in the Woolsey rotunda and actually remembering every facet of the experience). Thus, I'm going to focus on the beads of clear memory I've strung together and gloss over the spaces between them, because...well, because I can't recall them clearly. And that's probably because they weren't interesting enough to be worth remembering, so you're not missing anything either way.

ANYHOW, I remember...

...walking into Hendrie on the night of the concert and being abruptly conscious of how well-dressed everyone looked (except for the fact that, as Adam pointed out during his pep talk, that the women's dresses do tend to make us look more similar than, say, svelte and snazzy like the men's tuxes). Maybe I didn't really notice the clothes at the dress rehearsal because I'm a bit fashion-blind (entirely feasible), or perhaps because a space like Woolsey seems to demand fancy clothes in a way that Hendrie does not. Either way, that evening actually felt like the first night we'd dressed up.

...Adam's pep talk about what makes singing with the Glee Club such a special performing experience, as well as his (and his mother's) admonishment that we all break all of our legs.

...standing at the back of Woolsey, listening to the band playing, and worrying about all the wrong things. And what are the wrong things to worry about before a concert? I can't give a comprehensive list, but a brief sample might include: that the basic tacking I'd done wouldn't be enough to keep my dress hemmed, or that I would drop my Yale gear while running onstage, or that the heels of my shoes would catch in the grating and cause me to faceplant into the carpeted aisle. (For the record, none of these events occurred, a fact that is not due to my having worried about them.)

...that shimmering, soap-bubble-of-a-moment at the end of Abendlied, when we'd all stopped singing but the sound continued to float in the air. If anyone asked me why I sing in choirs, I'd probably answer with, "Because I love it." If they asked me why I loved it, this is the sort of example I would give. Same goes for that awesome, ringing final chord of My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord. "Why do you sing in choirs, Ari?" "Because it just sounds so damn cool."

...the faintly-agonizing walk back to Hendrie in heels after the concert. This one still puzzles me, as I've done a ton of musical theatre and choir in my life and am not unused to wearing character heels for long periods of time---yet it was with the most profound relief that I was able to plop down on a chair in the rehearsal room and removed the accursed things from my poor, bruised feet. Maybe I'm just out of practice wearing tall shoes...or perhaps I'll re-hem my dress so I can wear flats for the Princeton and Harvard concerts. We'll see.

...under the expert tutelage of John Clayton, becoming a volunteer YGC-punch-brewing sherbet-meister. Mmm, sherbet in punch.

In summary:

To the YGC: thanks for a great first concert at Yale!
To Adam: I apologize for having failed at breaking my legs this time around. Maybe this can be rectified by wearing stilettos while running up to the stage, or through the judicious application of a baseball bat to the tibias?
To John (and the punch): More lemon sherbet. Always, more lemon. 'Nuff said.