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Showing posts from June, 2011

Final Destination: Istanbul

Marisa Karchin ’14, on our Istanbul concert and how she cries every time we sing the Vaughan Williams

“This is the place where East meets West, old meets new. What better way to have old meet new than for YAC and the Glee Club to be singing together?” spoke Mark Dollhopf at the Yale Alumni Chorus/ Yale Glee Club welcome dinner our first night in Istanbul. We sat in the hotel restaurant, all approximately 300 of us, exchanging stories, sharing our excitement for our joint concert, hissing at the mention of Harvard, and, of course, singing old favorites. Istanbul was the last stop of the YGC tour, but the first stop for the YAC, who’s also performing in Georgia and Armenia.

On our first full day together, we took a ferry to the Princes Islands, crossing the very black waters from Europe to Asia, where we had our first joint rehearsal. We barely all fit in the room in the Anadolu Club, but singing in such a massive chorus was more empowering than intimidating. Jeff warned us, “The potentia…

Paris, June 14th

Neena Satija '11 writes about our concert at the Sorbonne.
Even though my undergraduate career technically ended in May, I'd like to think that this tour extends it by a few precious weeks. So, tonight I sang my final concert as an undergraduate member of the Yale Glee Club - and I couldn't have imagined a better send-off than this.
The Sorbonne Amphitheatre is a breathtaking space to sing in. It's large enough for a sizeable audience, but not so large that singers onstage can't connect with members of the audience by looking into their faces. We were watched over on all sides by statues of great French thinkers, including Richelieu, Descartes, and Lavoisier (who sports a particularly solemn look, but was probably looking at us with the most intensity out of all of our stone spectators). The house was nearly full. And we all sang with the acute awareness that we were singing many songs for the last time -- songs that had been near and dear to some of us for more th…

Munich!

Jess Moore '13, on beer, pretzels, and a YGC guy:
Well, the Glee Club survived Munich! True, the (locally brewed) beer flowed freely and we learned just how loud 80 people can get, but at least we know how to have a good time. Our brief tryst with the city of Munich began with a rehearsal at LMU, which in my mind stands for Large Munich University, with the Harvard Radcliffe Collegium. Afterward, we were led through the English Gardens to a beer garden. There was a large clearing filled with picnic tables and a low-lying building where beer and “portions” of food (one “portion” or ribs was an entire pig, as a Harvard tablemate found out the hard way) were sold. We were taught the etiquette of beer gardens:

You may bring your own food, in a picnic style, but there is often food to buy as wellYou may NOT bring your own beverages, not even water, as this is where the brewery makes its moneyThe breweries making money is important because they pay for the beer garden.The next day, we too…

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 hilarit…

Days 9-11: Berlin

Daniel Olson '12 writes about Berlin.
We’re packing up for Prague this evening and continuing the behind-the-iron-curtain leg of our European Tour. It’s incredible how much this part of the world has changed in the past 25 years! That change is certainly on display in Berlin, where the glee club has spent the last few days.
We arrived on Saturday evening, with just enough time to change quickly at our hotel before taking off for a Vespers service at Berliner Dom (Photo at left: Daniel Cruse, Daniel Thompson, and Daniel Olson in front of the Dom). The Church is spectacular. Badly damaged during World War II, it was restored in 1993 and is a major site in Berlin, very close to the center of the former East Berlin. The glee club sang for the majority of the service, but it was really cool to hear the minister repeat the words “bleib bei uns” during his sermon, the opening words of Rheinburger’s Abendlied, which we had just sung!
After a group dinner, we had time to check out some of Berl…

Days 7-8: Denmark

Markus Boesl '14 on our concert in Copenhagen. Photo credit: Monica Qiu '11
Copenhagen, with its strategic location in the Baltic sea, has historically been an important point of contact between northern europe (Norway, Sweden, Denmark) and the rest of Europe. It was for us, as well, a point of contact, sharing the stage with the Yale Spizzwinks in a beautiful concert at the Vor Freisers Kirke. Founded in 1914, the Spizzwinks are America’s oldest underclassmen a cappella group, performing hundreds of concerts around the world and delighting audiences with a repertoire that extends from popular numbers to spirituals to traditional Yale songs.
The resounding final notes of pieces echoed above Jeff’s outstretched hands as he waited for the reverberations to die down, not wasting a second.

But there was a far more interesting and exciting reason that this joint concert with the Spizzwinks was important. There are currently 7 Spizzwinks in the Glee Club. This concert was not only a wo…

Europe Tour Days 5-6

Publicity chair Marisa Karchin '14 on the YGC in Stockholm, Sweden.Photos: Monica Qiu and Mari Oye.

Day 5: After a luxurious breakfast at the hotel, we traveled into the city center of Stockholm, where we were given a guided tour of City Hall. A few highlights included the largest organ in Scandinavia (although it has 1000 fewer pipes than the Woolsey organ), the conference room with a massive Viking boat suspended from the ceiling, the 'Oval' in which Swedes can marry and/or divorce in under 5 minutes, and the Golden Hall, covered in over 18 million gold and glass mosaic pieces. We were then driven to a restaurant for dinner, where many of us were introduced to another new dish, reindeer (see left). Stuffed with delicious meat and chocolate cake, we rehearsed for our concert in the Adolf Frederik kyrka. A few hours later we performed in the beautiful gold and white church for an enthusiastic crowd (Emily once again sang her verses of Eli Yale in Swedish, and I have yet to …

Europe Tour Days 1-4

Monica Qiu '11 on our time in Uppsala, Sweden.

Hej from Sweden! The first stop on YGC's 150th international tour was in Uppsala, Sweden, a small university town that is the fourth largest city in Sweden at 200,000 people. We arrived bleary-eyed to our hostel on Day 2 (Day 1 and the better part of Day 2 were spent traveling) and then on Day 3, May 29th, we sang at 11AM Swedish time (but 5AM EST) the Sunday mass at Uppsala Cathedral, the largest cathedral in all of Scandinavia (pictured at left). The Swedes take pride in this cathedral, and the kings and queens of the country are crowned there. The majority of YGC experienced their first Swedish church service and also watched two adorable Swedish children with white-blond hair be baptized.

After the service, Stefan Parkman, the musical director of the Uppsala Akademiska Kammarkor with whom we would be singing with later, led us to the main building of Uppsala University where we were served smorgastarta, which consisted of the in…