Skip to main content

Prague Blog


Ellen Ray '11 writes about our time in Prague. This would have been posted sooner had the Czech keyboards been easier to decipher. Photos courtesy of Monica Qiu and Mari Oye '11.

The Glee Club's stay in Prague consisted of much wandering on streets with names we were unable to pronounce. Luckily, with the help of a local guide, we were able to glean some sense of the city's history and architecture. Our tour the first morning took us to the astronomical center of the city, an incredibly large clock with a fanfare at noon each day. We joined in the streets with crowds of other tourists, equally confused, but also impressed by the ritual and history in this city square. I spent most of my own time in Prague trying to orient myself in relationship to this landmark and others. For example, our tour also went past Wenceslas Square, named after a member of Czech royalty who gained enough notoriety in English that even American tourists (us, for example) understood the hilarity of this connection. Wenceslas Square was also an important landmark for our time in Prague, as most of us could at least pronounce it.

Near both of these landmarks was the Communist Museum of Prague. Located between a McDonald's and a casino, one can only find this museum by glimpsing it through the columns dividing the McDonald's and the casino. Large posters which say "The Communist Museum is Here!"are the ultimate giveaway. However, the true treasures rest inside. In every corner, there were statues of Stalin or Lenin or even occasionally Engels.

The content of the museum focused on Czechoslovakia's relationship with this model. Much attention was given to the Velvet Revolution, the student and intellectual movement which accompanied the collapse of Czechoslovakia's Communist state. Large photographs of youth were paired alongside a bust of Vaclav Havel. Pictures of youth storming Wenceslas Square, or simply sitting on stages were labeled with captions which proudly described the actions of these young revolutionary heroes.

While it's easy to peg Prague for its kitsch, or its excessive amounts of Art Nouveau, our guides pointed us toward places which display the literary and musical traditions of this country. Some members of the Glee Club went to the Kafka Museum. Luckily, none were transformed into giant insects.


Our concert was in a wing of the National Museum, the Nordoni, which featured an exhibit on Antonín Dvořák. The concert was sold out, and it was a pleasure to perform for such a large audience in a building which celebrates the country's musical heritage. A few members of the audience were even spotted crying during our performance of Red River Valley.

Though confused in terms of navigation, the Yale Glee Club enjoyed its time in Prague. This meandering with other members of YGC led to some of my most enjoyable afternoons on tour, even if I won't be able to pronounce the names of anything I saw.

Top: Ryan Dailey '12, Helen McCreary '13, and Katie Dryden '11 by St. Vitus Cathedral
Right, middle: Lennon vs Lenin!
Below: Our Prague concert venue

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.

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…

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…