Saturday, January 8, 2011

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 effect on the rehearsal process, which is as fun as it is efficient.

I also felt, more than ever before, in touch with the smooth continuity of YGC tradition across the years. Speaking with Bruce Ryan ('71) in Chicago, I discovered that the contest for members between a cappella and YGC has barely changed in almost half a century. On stage for the Football Medley in Ann Arbor, I found myself next to Derek Tam, who was still jumping out of time on "Oh Yale, Eli Yale," so I reprised my old role of trying to coerce him into the right rhythm. Best of all, I got to hear some of the pieces that have become legendary amid the older singers of my generation, especially MacMillan's infamous and stunning "Nemo."

Mark Dollhopf gave a speech in Chicago about passing on the gift the Yale Glee Club gives us all. From helping out in Ann Arbor to conducting Barty's music with my choirs at the University of Texas, I'm honored and thrilled to keep the glee in motion! YGC is truly my second family, and this week was a magnificent reunion. See you all next month to celebrate our one hundred and fiftieth year.