Skip to main content

Family, Friends, and Happiness: Parents' Weekend Concert

Claire Donnelley '14, writes about her experience this year singing in our annual Family Weekend concert.

        The Yale Glee Club! We run onstage, facing the perils of the aisles, of dodging latecomers, of air vents in Woolsey Hall that trap our high-heels, of keeping up with the sprinter in front of us. We sing when we arrive onstage, hearts pounding, flushed and happy.  Gaudete! 
       The Family Weekend concert October 29 was our first performance of the 2011-12 season repertoire. From our first rehearsal September 5th, we’ve come a long way as a group. This is my second year in the Glee Club, and being a sophomore is a completely new experience! Bonding and singing with the new members of the group has been one of the best things about being back at Yale. 

My dad came to visit over family weekend, so he got to hear the concert. I can always tell what his favorite piece is by asking him which song made him cry (we both have  a sentimental streak). This year he cried in the song On My Journey Home, a traditional sacred harp tune arranged by our conductor, Jeffrey Douma. I know the sentiment of being on a journey home, and "facing the fears of a frowning world" expressed in the song appealed to my father, who has to face both of his girls being away from home—my older sister living in Germany and me living on the opposite coast (we’re from California). Having my dad come to visit me at school made me think about journeys and what I hope to achieve with my time at Yale. I’m not certain that I will ever know the answer to that, even after I graduate, but the Glee Club is definitely a central part of my experience here. The friends I make, the life experiences I have during our international and domestic tours, and the inspirational music I have the chance to sing are all things that I have come to rely on at Yale. Amidst the stress of exams, hectic schedules, and the ongoing rush of time, every Monday and Wednesday night I have committed myself to singing. It is a stabilizing force that grounds me, helps me focus, and helps me remember the important things: family, friends, and happiness. 

I hope my dad was cheered up by the end of the concert when we closed with the Yale Football Medley and Bright College Years. The Football Medley has a piano accompaniment and this year I played this piano part along with my two alto buddies, Leah Latterner and Julia Meyers. Playing instead of singing was a different experience as well! We had fun switching off who was playing, running around the piano, and being silly. One of my favorite moments was when Julia kneeled on the bench behind me, playing the piano on either side of me as I sat scrunched on the bench, not playing but grinning naughtily for being in her way. The piece in itself is a treat to play—it’s upbeat and has unexpected glissandos and key changes all over the place that keep it exciting. I think that ending with our traditional Yale songs is a nice way to reflect on the transience of our college lives, helping us remember to appreciate being at Yale for the short four years that we get to spend here. Singing these songs is a way to remember those who have come before us—all 151 years of them—appreciate being here now, and help to carry on the tradition for those who will come.  

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…