Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Harvard-Yale 2011

Each year, the night before the big Game, the real Harvard-Yale battle takes place. This year, the fateful clash occurred in our own Woolsey Hall, with hundreds of alums and music lovers cheering on their school. There was no bloodshed (as in previous years...) but there was definitely excitement, chaos, betrayal, 24- part motets, displays of immense courage (particularly in conducting 24-part motets), world premiers, an overpowering performance of Shenandoah, bed sheets flying high above the Woolsey organ, and ultimately, reconciliation and lots of glee. Here are some scenes from the Harvard-Yale Glee Club Concert (Photos courtesy of T Sean Maher, Phyllis Thangaraj and Marisa Karchin)

The Yale Glee Club, performing under Jeff Douma

"Feminism is the radical notion that women are people"

Yale and Harvard students hang out at the reception (Left)

President Claire Paulson sang in her Eli Yale verses, "We've been admiring your tuxes and your perfectly coiffed curls/ But I guess they weren't quite good enough to draw in any girls."

Student Conductor Andy Berry '12 conducts the Yale Glee Club singing Loch Lomond (Right)

'nuff said.

Alums and both glee clubs come 
together on stage to sing Fair Harvard and Bright College Years, the two schools' alma maters. 

Video of the Yale Glee Club performing
Qui Habitat by Josquin des Prez (right) and the Football Medley (below), thanks to Sean McCusker!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not That it Matters...

Just kidding (kind of). We really do love our annual concert with the Princeton Glee Club! Emma Schmidt '15, writes about her first Yale-Princeton experience.

Last Friday, November 11th, we sang with the Princeton Glee Club down yonder in Princeton—enemy territory…

We arrived after a long bus ride (4.5 hours!), due to excessive New York City traffic. Flustered though we were, we shuffled on stage and had a shortened rehearsal before dinner. As we walked through the dressing room in the basement of Richardson Auditorium, we began to notice the orange pieces of paper that would become so important later on in the concert.

Before the concert, we had dinner, “which was like, a MILE away!” as described by a candid Glee Clubber. We are spoiled by our dining halls here at Yale. Either way, we were fueled and ready to go as Andy Berry, student conductor extraordinaire, gave a pep talk and got us thinking about not thinking.

As the Glee Club walked onstage and got into place, there was an energy and focus that I hadn’t yet felt in the group. As a freshman, my only concert experiences before this one have been in Woolsey, which is at least a little bit intimidating. The auditorium at Princeton was more intimate, which I think helped us all focus more on Jeff and the music. Opening with Zephyr Rounds set the tone for the concert: energetic, precise, and focused. Chamber Singers sang a piece, and we closed our first set with four movements of Howells’ Requiem.

Coming back onstage after intermission, we tried to hide our Yale gear, but they knew it was coming--there was even some preemptive hissing as the Princetonians spotted our Yale blue. During the football medley, Princeton proceeded to throw hundreds of orange paper airplanes onto the stage. We were well prepared with Yale umbrellas to shield us from the rain of orange! Hissing and “Yale sucks” abounded, but we still had lots of fun singing the medley, and the audience appreciated our good nature towards their hissing.

After Princeton sang their second set, we joined them onstage for BCY and their alma mater, Old Nassau. (Yale’s is so much better! But they don’t matter anyway.) Singing each other's songs seemed representative of our experience there: rivalries aside, we were all there to share and make music, and at the end of the day that was all that mattered. Of course, we’re better, but it doesn’t mean we can’t sing together!

We’re looking forward to our concert on Friday with the Harvard Glee Club! As Jeff says, we’re going to “show them who’s boss.”

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

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.