Skip to main content

YGC Goes to San Francisco!

Publicity Chair Marisa Karchin '14, on our anti-bullying benefit concert this past weekend.

On Saturday night, the YGC sang at the Yale Glee Club and Glee's Darren Criss Gala Benefit to End Bullying. After spending the morning exploring sunny San Francisco, we arrived at the Marines Memorial Theater in time for our rehearsal. We walked up ten flights of stairs to get to our dressing room, and then began our sound check. We were so fortunate to be singing with the lovely San Francisco Girls’ Choir, the Duke’s Men of Yale, and of course, Glee’s Darren Criss. Before the concert started, we got the chance to explore the hotel, and look at the library and museum of U.S. Military and Veterans memorabilia.

The concert began with the Alumni Chorus of the San Francisco Girls Chorus, who sang three selections, including a beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. The Dukes’ Men belted out a few of their classics, and then sang (and danced) backup for Darren Criss in Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. The Glee Club sang our set, which included some of our favorite pieces- Red River Valley, Weep You No More (Gilbertson), Raise Your Voices (Douma), My Soul's Been Anchored (Hogan), along with a few traditional Yale songs. Darren Criss was up next, singing and accompanying himself on the piano. His soothing, lightly gruff voice flowed effortlessly as he riffed around the vocal lines, impressing the audience (including several teens shrieking “Marry me Darren!”) with his musicality, skill and charm.

Meanwhile, the YGC, waiting backstage, was invited into a party in the next room, which was being held for the Cal Veterans Association. We danced the night away, and sang Shenandoah for the veterans and their families, until we were called for our next entrance. We then returned to the stage for the grand finale of the concert. Darren Criss performed his song “Not Alone,” with the YGC, SFG, and the Duke’s Men all on stage and scattered throughout the aisles singing the soulful backup arrangement (for which the stage manager repeatedly told us to “Be Fabulous”)

We walked backstage after the concert to find Darren Criss and Jeff Douma reminiscing about their days at the University of Michigan (and snapped a few photos, of course.)



photo credit: Stephanie Tubiolo

Then YGC Blog got the chance to talk to Darren ourselves. He pulled us into the corner of the room backstage to talk privately before he was hounded by fans, and was brimming with excitement from the momentum of the concert. When asked why he got involved in this benefit, he responded, laughing, “I was asked.” But his devotion to the issue was obvious; he continued, “It seems like a no-brainer... It’s nice to be in a position where you can not only do something you love, but help out with something you care about.” The conversation moved from the benefit concert to his years at Michigan, where he briefly joined an a capella group, then left to work on his own musical projects. He didn’t do much choral singing, but he enthusiastically told us about some of his favorite pop arrangements- Robin Wiley’s arrangement of “I Thought She Knew,” and “O Holy Night,” sung by N’SYNC. He also said he was going to apply to Yale if he hadn’t been able to get work by the time he was 25 (oh well), “Just for Pepe’s!”

Even in the midst of the concert excitement, it was impossible to forget the real reason we were all singing at this benefit. Whether it was recalling the latest episode of Glee, in which Darren Criss’ character stands up to heartbreakingly cruel bullying, or being surrounded by memorials to the Marines and a crowd of returning veterans, or standing on stage, singing with over a hundred other young singers who all shared the same love for music, the same devotion to creating music that leads to changes in thought and in action, we all felt a sense of community, security, and mutual support for this universal cause. Backstage before the concert, Jeff said to us, “I’d go out on a limb and say that everyone here’s been bullied, because, well most people are, and we sing in choirs.” This may be true, but we’re so lucky to be able to use choral singing to raise awareness for the cause. To quote Jeff Douma one more time, “It’s all about the love.”

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…

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…

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…