Thursday, January 6, 2011

Winter Tour 2011: Chicago

Publicity Manager Mari Oye covers 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 pizza and “almost died of a cheese coma” and then guided us through a similar experience at Pizano's Restaurant.

“It means a whole lot to me that the Glee Club came to my home,” Hana said. “It’ll be my mom’s first time watching us today. I invited a bunch of buddies and my old high school choir director to come. It’ll be a really warm affair.” This, despite the fact that is was 13 degrees outside at that point. And windy.

The YGC Blog caught up with Ayanna during rehearsal for our concert at the First Methodist Church downtown. "It’s like these people are from one part of my life and these people are from the other part of my life, and then they COLLIDE!!" said Ayanna. "It’s like Spongebob walking into the Shawshank Redemption."

"In which he wins an academy award for best guest actor," Hana added. "Yeah!"

We sang in the church's beautiful wood-painted interior to an enthusiastic and Yalie-filled audience.
The life-collisions continued afterwards, as recent and less-recent alums welcomed us with a Singing Dinner. We usually don't think about all the generations of Glee Clubbers over the last 150 years -- about the hundreds and hundreds of people who have stood in our places singing "Little Innocent Lamb" or "Shenandoah." Appearing all at once, we'd make one very crowded stage. Connecting with alumni like the group in Chicago gives us a chance to compare notes on increasingly legendary stories from tours past (and traditions like certain requirements for particularly brave renditions of "Bandolero").

Song of the day: "My Kind of Town"

Day 3: Outreach and Potlucks
Our third day in Chicago included two outreach concerts. The first took place at the Morton School for Excellence ("I can't think of a good rhyme for excellence!" sang YGC president Emily Howell in "Eli Yale") and the second at The Chicago Academy, where Julia Myers '12 caught a brief nap before lunch (photo at right). We were impressed by the Chicago Academy's cougar mascot and glad Handsome Dan didn't have to face off against it.

"What's college like?" a middle-schooler in the audience asked. Adam Fishman '13, YGC outreach chair, took the mike and said "It's like summer camp. You study what you want to study. So I really like math and music, and I study that." Those of us familiar with Adam's all-nighters looked up in surprise. "Well," he amended, "summer camp with a lot of homework." There we go.

The day ended with some free time to see the sights of Chicago, the city's brilliant architecture at once elegant and industrial. Some YGC alums from the classes of 04-07 held a potluck in Hyde Park with the current YGCers they were hosting. Sylvia Glauster '05 introduced us to her cats Credo, Kyrie and Gloria. Adam Varner and Hen Kennedy '07 rounded out our impromptu choir. The altos sang tenor, half the sopranos sang alto, Adam held down the bass, and we pulled out the Yale Songbooks again for a second, more casual singing dinner.

The night gave us hope that "you can keep the glee in your life after Yale," whether or not you end up marrying a fellow Glee Clubber.

Song of the Day: "You're the Inspiration"

Below: Four YGCers stroll in Millenium Park. All photos courtesy of Dylan Morris '11.