Skip to main content

From New Haven they say you are going

Publicity chair emeritus Mari Oye ’11 on Yale Commencement and commencing tour.

“There’s the family you’re born into,” said YGC President Emily Howell, “and the family Jeff [Douma] chooses for you.” That was ten days ago, as the Glee Club, stranded in San Francisco by an American Airlines flight cancellation, gave an impromptu concert for the rest of the travelers stuck in line. “Raise Your Voices,” “Abendlied,” and that other classic, “Baby You’re Not Alone,” all graced SFO. Given an extra day downtown, a quartet of stray Glee Clubbers sang “Dover Beach” on the beach by the Golden Gate bridge.

Ten days later, we find ourselves in another airport – this time, JFK, bound for Sweden via Paris. In between, though, we’ve been busy. The Glee Club collectively sang three baccalaureate services, two Class Day hymns, and our own Commencement Concert in Sprague Hall (above, shenanigans during the football medley). Gleeniors wore white roses with blue ribbons and a spray of baby’s breath, and cried – for real – during “Eli Yale,” at the line “the saddest tale we have to tell is when we bid Old Yale farewell.”

The baccalaureates take place in Woolsey Hall. Each year, we sing Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia” from the second balcony. My own baccalaureate was the eighth I’ve attended, but it’s different when you’re the one graduating. We could hear the “Alleluia” drifting down from the balcony, and be in two places at once – up there mentally singing it with the rest of the YGC, and down in the seats by the stage, gown on, cap in hand, listening.

Later we seniors stepped into Old Campus and “smoked our pipes and sang our glees,” according to Yale tradition. Graduates receive a clay pipe to smoke and then break. (If you see any shards in the Vandy courtyard, you can blame Derek Tam, Jasmine Dyba, and me).

I guess I’m now an alumna of Yale College, but until this Glee Club tour ends, I stubbornly refuse to leave. I’ve even started to take this joy and craziness for granted. Right now, some tenors are teaching Jeff how to juggle by Gate 5. Max Blum MUS ’11 appears to be conducting along with the “Fast and the Furious” arcade game. He’s interrupted by an announcement: “Attendez-vous!” We’re headed for Uppsala, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague, Munich, Paris, and Istanbul. Sunset is at 10 pm, our first concert is at 11 am in Uppsala Cathedral, and there are 23 days of tour to go.

Popular posts from this blog

"Yale found its Glee 150 years ago," New Haven Register

An article from Donna Doherty in today's New Haven Register. All photos Arnold Gold/New Haven Register... and a video in the original article here.

NEW HAVEN — It has sung all over the world, survived wars and co-education. Its alums include legendary songwriter Cole Porter, former senators Prescott Bush and James Symington, and peace activist Rev. William Sloane Coffin, so reaching 150 years old seemed cause for celebration.

The Yale Glee Club, the oldest musical organization on campus, has big plans for that occasion, ones which embrace the community and continue through May, including two specially commissioned works, each composer and writer, unbeknownst to the other, choosing to honor the city of New Haven.

“City Song,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and former Yale Glee-er Lew Spratlan and renowned Yale poet Elizabeth Alexander, will have its world premiere at a gala free concert at 5 p.m. Saturday at Woolsey Hall, featuring current Glee Club members and five decades of…

Dead Week Shenanigans

Just in case you were wondering what Glee Club members do during dead week, here is just a glimpse of the festivities! This occurred during a lovely spring afternoon after a bit too much happy frappuccino hour at Starbucks.

Ten Songs of Yale you didn't know about

Bram Wayman '09 delves into the depths of songbooks past. The views shared here in no way represent the official opinion of the YGC Blog nor the YGC... & c. & c. & c.*

Though clear favorites stand the test of time, and the old song books of Yale are full of the high stupidity of yesteryear, a few gems that aren't often — if ever — sung today stand out for me. Some of these songs are beautiful, some hilarious, and some downright offensive, but they all deserve a second look, and I'm not convinced all of them should have fallen out of use. I'm no expert on the history of Yale songs, and have only picked from a few books, but here are ten songs of Yale that still bring a smile to my face.

1. "Old Tom Wilson." TTBB. One of Barty's cleverest arrangements, this piece is a song from the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky. It features vocal banjos, vocal beer-chugging that gets longer each time the jug goes around, lyrics such as "Big fat gals…

War Dreams Concert (Written by Victoria Pierre)

While I thoroughly enjoyed the Bernstein, I decided to make this blog post an extended version of the pep talk I gave before our concert on Friday, in which I talked about Vaughan Williams. Enjoy!


I first encountered this piece when I was 16, as part of a northern Virginia choral association concert. They mailed me the score (which I still have) and gave me a few weeks to learn it before having two rehearsals and then a concert. I still remember trying to learn the music note by note (since I couldn’t sight read back then) listen to a midi file of the soprano I part on repeat. So this is how I encountered Vaughan Williams--a piano midi file. My first impression, especially once I got to “Beat! Beat! Drums!” was….what the heck is this music. I didn’t really understand the poetry, or the war, or any of the context surrounding this piece. All I knew was there was something about a solemn church and a bridegroom and bugles, and something about snorting horses in Dan…the piece was a mys…