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Showing posts from January, 2011

"Music Review: Yale Glee Club at Strathmore," from the Washington Post

Alfred Thigpen of the Washington Post reviews our January 7 Strathmore performance. What? No Charles Ives? For its sesquicentennial concert at Strathmore, Yale's Glee Club might have cited the name of the famous Yalie composer or rationed out more than a passing fight song. Even so, Friday's sellout audience heard an opera-length concert featuring jazz pianist John Eaton, Whim 'n Rhythm, the Yale Whiffenpoofs, alumni singers and, finally, the Glee Club itself, which broke the mold decades ago with the inclusion of women - clearly the right choice.Under the direction of Jeffrey Douma, sopranos sang as one instrument and with flawless intonation. There was uniform vowel placement and the proscription of vibrato, which can sound like the choral equivalent of uneven pavement. Without this discipline, the contemporary sacred works of James MacMillan and Robert Vuichard would have fallen like bad souffles. Instead, their treacherously clustered semitones and contrapuntal subtlet…

Winter Tour 2011: Strathmore and D.C.

YGC Manager Rachel Wilf '11 on our Domestic Tour's grand finale In Chicago, on our second day of tour, Jeff announced that our last tour concert at the Strathmore Music Center had sold out. We had sold seventeen hundred tickets! The excitement about the concert built up over the week as YGC was abuzz with requests for spare tickets. My favorite request was one posted on Craigslist: “SAVE MY MARRIAGE. Was supposed to buy tickets, but didn't. PLEASE LET ME PURCHASE 2 OF YOUR EXTRA TICKETS!”When we arrived in the D.C. area on Thursday night we had a brief rehearsal with the Yale alumni chorus and met up with our hosts for the night. On Friday morning they brought us to the White House, where we put our pre-concert jitters aside to take a guided tour. We didn’t see the Obamas, but Jennie Witthuhn ’12 did catch a glimpse of Bo getting walked on the lawn. We saved the rest of our D.C. sightseeing for Saturday and left the White House for lunch in Silver Spring, MD and a workshop…

"Yale Glee Club Instructs and Performs at Piney Branch Elementary"

An article on YGC outreach in Takoma Park, Maryland, from Kristi Tousignant at

Yale University junior, and Glee Club member Claire Paulson of Iowa City, Iowa (third from left) teaches Piney Branch Elementary school fifth-graders and chorus members (from left) Erin Obaonrin, Kira Goo and Nardos Chanyalew, all 10 and from Takoma Park a song the Yale Glee Club sings frequently on Friday afternoon. The Yale Glee Club performed a concert for the entire school that day. Photo: Raphael Talisman
Yale University brought a little glee to Takoma Park last week.
The Yale Glee Club performed at Piney Branch Elementary School Friday and taught the school's third and fourth grade choirs a few Ivy League tunes.
The glee club held an hour-long workshop with the kids, teaching them how to breathe and warm-up before singing. The kids in the choir filed into the school's gymnasium and sat on the bleachers. Some leaned over their neighbors to whisper not so quietly to their friends, …

Winter Tour 2011: Things I Learned In Cleveland

YGC President Emily Howell '11 on Day 5 of Tour

1) People in Cleveland are friendly.

Before the concert, the Glee Club was treated to gourmet pizza at a beautiful house near the church. Afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious reception while we met our homestays and mingled with the audience.  Over and over, I heard “Thank you for coming to Cleveland!” Then I had a fantastic homestay with Glee Clubber Ellen Ray, where our hosts gave us a full second dinner, held off my impending cold with cough syrup, and made sure Ellen, a vegan, had a tasty vegan feast.

2) Cleveland is important to the people of Cleveland.

After dinner, Jeff was interviewed briefly by a local TV station, who wanted to know two things: his name, and why we chose to come to Cleveland. (His answer: “Because it’s been a while since we were last here.”)

3) Cleveland likes the Glee Club.

It was the only time all tour I had to request that the audience stay standing for Yale’s alma mater, Bright College Years, because we …

Winter tour 2011: Ann Arbor

Day 4: From Elm City to Tree City
Bram Wayman (Saybrook '09) offers his perspective on the Glee Club's visit to Ann Arbor:

I had the wonderful fortune to hear the Yale Glee Club twice in the last week—once in Chicago and once in my hometown of Ann Arbor. YGC's visit to Ann Arbor was particularly special because I was not content to simply sit in the audience. As the traditional tour saying goes, "Be the first to help out and the last to complain," so I helped out with a number of miscellaneous tasks. Mari asked me to take pictures of the group in rehearsal, some of which you can see here.

One of the only joys of not singing in the Glee Club is observing the Glee Club. On those rare occasions when we are sick and have to sit out, or when we have already graduated and are shamelessly tagging along, we get to see YGC's defining characteristics at work. The attentive, humorous, hard-working but easy-going attitude we all seem to share has a direct effec…

Winter Tour 2011: Chicago

Publicity Manager Mari Oyecovers Days 1-3

Day 1: Sparsos congregavit! We assembled from across the country on New Year’s Day. The Glee Club had been collecting in stages, something like a snowball, since the first bus left at 7 am from New Haven. A bleary-eyed crew joined at the LaGuardia central terminal and were greeted by our inimitable tour managers, Abigail Droge '12 and Arshia Chatterjee '11, who looked typically perky and handed out bags of sweets. “We’re lucky to have the Yale Glee Club on board with us today,” the captain announced as we took off for Chicago. We thanked him – and then collectively went back to sleep. I mean, it was New Year’s Day.

Song of the day: "Take Me Back to Chicago"
Day 2: Perspectives from Real Live Chicagoans Three genuine Chicagoans from the ranks of the YGC, Hana Zegeye ’13, Ayanna Woods ’14, and Adam Fishman ’12, introduced us to their city with pride. Hana regaled us with stories of the time she ordered extra cheese on a deep-dish pi…

"Yale Singers Mark a Milestone" in the Washington Post!

Re-posted from Moira E. McLaughlin at the Post. Original article available here.
We're already getting excited for the Strathmore Hall concert on January 7!
The storied Yale Glee Club, which boasts Cole Porter and Charles Ives among its alumni, is bringing its perfect pitch to Washington. The collegiate choral group, one of the oldest in the country, is celebrating its 150th anniversary season and is performing at Strathmore next week. It will be joined by two Yale a cappella groups, the Whiffenpoofs and Whim'n Rhythm, as well as jazz pianist John Eaton, a Yale alum. What began in 1861 as 13 men singing simple songs known as "glees" on the street corners of New Haven, Conn., has evolved into an 85-member coed chorus that performs such classical works as Verdi's "Requiem," Mendelssohn's "Elijah" and Hayden's "Creation" as well as pieces commissioned from such well-known modern composers as Ned Rorem and Dominick Arg…