Monday, January 10, 2011

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 got a standing ovation after the football medley. This was the third concert of tour, and the night before in Ann Arbor we had really hit our stride. Every once in a while when we sing there are moments when it seems like we’re one voice and one mind, because everyone is so focused, so responsive to Jeff, and so perfectly together. Those moments are exhilarating, and I felt a few of them in Cleveland, particularly in Dover Beach Revisited.

4) “With some teamwork, a lot of help, and a little bit of butter, we can get through anything.”

Glee Clubber Michael Haycock, himself born in Ohio, taught the Glee Club about Ohio native William Howard Taft in his pre-concert pep talk. Taft attended Yale, then went on to become President of the United States (one of eight from Ohio!) and, later, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Taft is also known for his general largeness: he once got stuck in a White House bathtub and had to be rescued by his staff. He then had a bathtub installed that was big enough for four men. Michael used the experience to teach the Glee Club how, when caught in a tight place, like a bathtub, you just need to “wait it out and get a bigger one next time.” Also, that teamwork is important.

And so, the next morning, we left Cleveland after less than 24 hours spent there—not long, but long enough for urban planning students David Eisenman and John Good to have some major struggles with its subway system. Thanks for the lessons, Cleveland. On to D.C.!

Atid Kimmelman '13 examines a butterfly at the Cleveland Botanic Garden.

Manager Rachel Wilf '11 eats an eighth note on the bus.