Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday Season with YGC!


Yale Glee Club always manages to show its best attributes come holiday season. Maybe it's the accumulation of beloved annual events that we look forward to every year, or maybe it's the long sought relief we need during finals prep. Regardless, some of my fondest memories of the Yale Glee Club (and I'm sure this is true for many others as well) come from this festive and incredibly joyful period in our lives.

Last year as a freshman in the Yale Glee Club, the trip to New York was the event that forever sealed my utter adoration for YGC. I had already been completely convinced of YGC's awesomeness at the beginning of the year with Beethoven's Ode to Joy. I mean, honestly, what music lover wouldn't be completely brimming with excitement with that experience? But the combination of being in New York City, one of my favorite places, in the famed Yale Club with such a warm and welcoming audience  made losing a whole day of studying (yes, I was and still am obsessive over excessive studying) completely and utterly worth while.

And let's not forget the most unique and amazing experience of all: the Yale train ride back home. The most enjoyable of all our revelries arrives year after year and without fail brings the most shenanigans and contagious joy out of each YGC member. It's a time to let the Glee run free! Without a doubt, in those short two hours confined on a moving train, I have had more fun and laughs that any other night had at Yale. The obnoxiously bad singing that at the time sounded like God's gift to man, the gawking of unfortunate passengers that stuck it through with us the entire time, and the joy. O the joy! It's a time for memory makings, and it's that time of year that everyone who can recall that night looks forward to year after year. Happy Holidays YGC! I can't wait to enjoy 2 1/2 more years with all of you all!

-Lisa Zhang

 A Glimpse of our train ride experience - Picture courtesy of Kyle Picha

Friday, November 30, 2012

No Stranger to Harvard

I have a confession to make. It is a fact that before I came to Yale, I had been rooting for an obscure college in Cambridge MA for four years. My sister graduated from Harvard in 2010, and being the proud younger sister who oh-so-often looked up to her, I wore my little maroon sweatshirt to the point of obnoxiousness during high school. But do not fret my Yalies! My allegiances were established to their rightful party long before acceptance letters began arriving in my inbox. In fact, in the early stages of college applications, I had long figured that Yale was, in general and for my specific circumstances, superior to Harvard in so many ways. Without going into detail, let's just say my favorite parts of the week are when I get to sing fully to my heart content to incredibly moving and beautiful music in a MIXED collegiate choir I warmly consider my family here at Yale. 

For our annual Yale-Harvard Glee Club concert, I was anticipating quite a rush of memories heading back to Harvard. I had visiting a few times during my sister's time there, and I was excited to share with my friends places like The Boston Tea Stop (full of bubble tea and mochi!), Harvard Square, and the most-delicious-must-have-some-sort-of-drug-in-it-because-its-so-good frozen yogurt shop hidden behind Adams House. Though it's hard to admit it, I actually was missing the campus. In my memories I saw those places as if they were slightly glazed over with a golden hue. Maybe it was the excitement of visiting a college campus, or it was finally seeing my sister again after a few months, or maybe (most likely) it was the suspicious frozen yogurt, but it's suffice to say I was looking forward to visiting Harvard again. Yet this time, despite the fun and amusement I had reminiscing at Harvard, that golden hue I remembered was no where to be found at the places where I remembered them to be. In fact, I couldn't find it anywhere on campus! The only place that I can recall having felt that warm glow in the atmosphere at Harvard was when I was with the Yale Glee Club. Each and every one of our eighty members brought so much light, laughter, and joy into the room that it's hard to imagine a better place to be. I remember as a freshman feeling so accepted, so loved, and so lucky to be in a group like the Yale Glee Club. When we performed that night at Sanders Hall, I swear it was as if John Clayton had willed our performance into being. I felt the intensity of our unfaltering focus, and even in a room filled mostly with competitors, we still came out winning in the end. That hall may have provided the light, but it was the Yale Glee Club that shined.

Lisa Zhang

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Retreat Blurb from Stephanie!

Here is a fantastic and touching blog from our most beloved Stephanie Tubiolo, a junior in Silliman and a Glee Club member since freshman year! Enjoy!


Oh How I Love Glee

This year, I brought a pillow to Glee-treat for the first time.

As I watched our incredible new members scramble onto the buses with stacks of
textbooks and wrinkled sheets tugged off their beds just minutes before, my head
was filled with memories of the swirling excitement of my first retreat—and how
much it meant to me.

It was my first time being out of contact with my family.
It was my first time traveling with people I didn’t know.
It was my first time having to pack on my own (thus the lack of pillow).

And it was absolutely the first time I felt like I belonged at Yale.

I entered Yale the epitome of an embarrassingly over-attached child. I cried every
day of my Pre-orientation Harvest trip, I cried when my amazing parents and
brother left orientation, and I called home every day for the entirety of my first
semester (and may or may not have cried on the phone a few times).

So the pure happiness and joy I felt when I hopped on the bus with 80 mysterious
people to travel to a mysterious campsite and engage in mysterious activities was
certainly brand new.

And it only grew. The family-style meals, the hours of rehearsal that felt like
minutes, the breathtaking lake, and the nights of square-dancing, campfires, and
just enjoying each other took me out of the academic bubble I had just entered and
showed me the overwhelming sunshine that is Glee.

My second Glee-treat came the day after a traumatic death in my life, and I will
never forget the incessant support I was blessed with. Sean Maher (our fabulous
business manager) once told me that Glee Clubbers “wouldn’t leave me alone” in
times of hardship, and he did not exaggerate.

And this year, my third retreat, was accompanied by neither nerves nor trauma.
I knew exactly what to expect—the freezing temperatures, that group of men
celebrating their multi-decade anniversary of being campers, learning that I am
still the shortest member of the Glee Club, and most of all, that fuzzy feeling I get in
my stomach when I look around a rehearsal and realize that I could not possibly be
surrounded by a more wonderful group of people.

Maybe next year I’ll finally learn how to promenade.

To the new members: You are so loved! Welcome to Glee Club

-Stephanie Tubiolo '14

Thank you so much Stephanie for all the love and support you give to our members! 

Retreat Blurb from a Newbie!

A new Glee Club member Sharif Vakili describes his experiences and memories from our 2012-2013 retreat!

The yale glee club retreat has been one of the most uplifting and emotionally rewarding experiences I've ever had at Yale. And I mean that as a senior who's in his first and sadly last year with the group. The people in the glee club have been so unbelievably welcoming, sweet and interesting. They constantly emit positive energy. And in it's contagious. I'm pretty sure if a grade A dirtbag joined a rehearsal with us, either he'd lose his capacity to be douchy or maybe he'd just explode. 

Beyond the special goodness of the glee club members that made the retreat so pleasant, the cool little events we did and the spirit we approached them with really added to the retreat. I always looked forward to rehearsal and was super excited to get started, to sing, to learn, and of course, to hear Jeff give his various inspiring, memorable (remember-- every entrance you miss is an entrance you'll never be able to get back), insightful, and funny speeches. Really, it's just been addicting. Sure, we might find ourselves stressed with other commitments and thoughts floating around in our heads, but it's pretty easy to tell that everyone consistently looks forward to and gets excited about rehearsals . And the stuff we did outside of rehearsals nicely complimented that: singing songs of Yale around s'mores, playing the "I have a neighbor" game, eating impressively delicious food, and square-dancing in the barn to old cassettes for several hours with no hydration and limited ventilation. 

Looking back on our retreat has been bittersweet. But bittersweetness is a reliable indication of a kickass time. 
I'm super excited to see what the next few months are going to bring.

-Sharif Valiki

Thanks so much Sharif! We are so happy to have you in our Glee community!

Friday, April 20, 2012

From Mozart to Stravinsky...


Our beloved 2011-2012 manager, Abigail Droge '12, writes about our performance of Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms with the YSO:

From Classical to Neoclassical – as Rachel Glodo ’12 reminded us in her brilliant and witty pre-concert pep talk, within two weeks the Glee Club has embraced both Mozart and Stravinsky.  And what a wonderful journey it has been. 

Of all the pieces that I have sung with the Glee Club, the Symphony of Psalms is perhaps the one that transformed the most for me over the course of the year. When we first began rehearsals, it was difficult to find my notes amongst the dissonance.  But as we became more and more familiar with the piece, and especially when we were able to hear it with the orchestra, I came to appreciate its beauty and emotion on a different level.  The desperation of the opening movement, a setting of Psalm 38 (“Hear my prayer, O Lord … For I am a stranger with Thee”) only increases the monumental power of Psalm 40 in the second movement (“I waited patiently for the Lord: and He inclined unto me, and heard my calling”).  And when the listener (and singer) reach the sheer beauty and resolution of the final movement, the words of Psalm 150 sound the sweeter for having been earned: “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.  Alleluia.” 

Singing with the Yale Symphony Orchestra affords not only the privilege of getting to make music with even more of our peers, but also the special joy of being able to work with YSO director Toshi.  His enthusiasm and commitment to the piece imbued the notes I was singing with deeper meaning for me.  One of the things I most look forward to in performing with the YSO is the opportunity of witnessing the collaboration between Jeff and Toshi and having the privilege of combining the genius of two great musical minds in our final performance.  It was also wonderful to be able to hear the YSO from the audience as they performed “Landings” by Stephen Feigenbaum ’12 (last year’s Fenno Heath Award winner for the Glee Club), and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, which captivated the audience from the first note.  It is a testament to the YSO that they can perform both a brand new piece and a piece with such a storied past in the same concert with so much commitment and grace.  

So, we managed to get through the night riot-free, but this was certainly a concert that I will remember for years to come. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mozart Requiem

The concert we'd all been looking forward to since September finally arrived last weekend. We performed the Requiem in Woolsey Hall with a wonderful orchestra of professional musicians, and soloists from the Glee Club. Although we only had a few weeks to practice the chromatic runs in the fugues, debate the contributions of Levin and Sussmayr, agonize over the beauty of the dissonances in the Confutatis, and learn to "call upon deep wells of personal frustration" while singing the Dies Irae, we savored every minute we were able to sing this masterpiece in German Latin. Rachel Protacio '15 writes about her experience:

Mozart.  So much tradition, so much excitement, so much wishing we could sing it again.  For me, Glee Clubbers intrinsically represent a wide range of perspectives when it comes to music, and yet Mozart’s Requiem almost immediately captivated us all, bringing us on a gleefully shared journey of twists and turns, bashings of Süssmayr, a myriad of firsts, and ultimately, a wonderfully-received concert.

After months of rehearsal, the long-anticipated Saturday arrived, and I am completely sure that Mozart was running through the heads and voices of every one of us.  (“Confutatis” during breakfast, the Introitus as we trekked to Woolsey for rehearsal, one or two movements more before we made it on stage.)  More importantly, our first non-stop run-through during morning rehearsal was exhilarating.  In the empty Woolsey, you can hear the music reverberating after the end of each phrase, and hearing the echoing grandness of all our voices singing the Requiem with the accompaniment of the orchestra portended an extraordinary concert.

So began the firsts: all the newbie Gleeple performed for the first time on the stage of Woolsey with an orchestra, a quintessential Glee Club experience; most of us heard the amazing solo quartets of extremely talented members for the first time and were blown away; Abigail our manager gave her first and last pep talk and inspired us to sing knowing that we could make our one performance of the Requiem special and memorable; Jeff told us with fifteen minutes to go before the concert that we would be filmed, which was quite the novelty for those (i.e. all) of us who did not expect it.  I might also add that for me, who entered the Glee Club with perhaps minimal knowledgeability about the Requiem, the experience in general was one of pure excitement.  Many times, I thought about how rehearsal accompanying for part of the work affected my experience of it.  It afforded me the chance to hear every voice part from my seat at the piano.  Even more interesting was my hearing how the reduction was actually divided up among the instruments in the orchestra.  What great music!  No wonder the Glee Club anticipated this one concert all year!  Moreover, nicely tacked onto the beginning of our concert was Ave verum corpus, which is both musically relevant to the Requiem and, as the concert began, was a gorgeous and tranquil way to lead the audience into the evening.

The performance itself was so well attended, and our desire to share our music with everyone surely drove the concert.  It could not have gone better, and the audience graciously showed that they thought so, too.  It was absolutely a concert to remember.  At the end of the day, our experience with the Requiem was one of great enjoyment and accomplishment, and it left each of us with great music that even now is running through my head.



Sunday, March 18, 2012

HAWAI'I PART 2: Waikiki

On Wednesday, the Glee Club drove back across the island to Honolulu, stopping along the way to visit the Pearl Harbor memorial and to sing with the high school students at the Waldorf School. Before we knew it, we were wearing fuschia leis at a luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Daniel Olson '12 writes about the remainder of our trip. Photos courtesy of Connor Kenaston.

When it rains in Hawai’I, what is the glee club to do? For many of us, it meant walking up the mountains outside of Honolulu into a rain cloud. The Kuliouou Ridge trail usually offers striking views of both sides of the island. Last Thursday, the trail was covered in mud! Though many a glee clubber lost his or her shoes to the muddy trek, the haunting performance of Sarah Hopkins’ “Past Life Melodies” at the top definitely made up for the losses.

Some of us (including me) decided to stay in the dryer environs of Waikiki. Exploring one of the most famous strands of beach in the entire world was pretty exciting. Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts, just a few blocks from the water, had a collection of over 14,000 Hawaiian shirts. The inside of the store was packed with everything from vintage 1950s rayon shirts costing thousands of dollars apiece to more contemporary cotton shirts that were just 20 bucks. Adam Fishman and I couldn’t leave without buying souvenirs!

What would a trip to Waikiki be like without checking out the beach itself? Fortunately, it was warm and dry enough to swim pretty far out into the ocean. It was a struggle avoiding all the surfers though! We had our own fun playing freeze tag and chicken in the water, but soon it was time to shower and change for the glee club banquet.

Posing at our banquet on Magic Island
Cynthia and Peter could not have picked a more beautiful spot in Honolulu. We sat underneath a Banyan tree on Magic Island, with magical views of the sun setting over the Pacific. We were treated to excellent food and excellent comedy from committee, which gave us all a chance to revisit our funniest tour memories (so far).

The next morning we left for a visit to the University of Hawai’I Manoa. We spent time with their choirs and their director Dr. Miguel Felipe (who made the right choice moving to Hawai’I from a certain school in Cambridge…). We so appreciated their hospitality and enjoyed learning a little more about Hawaiian pronunciation. The ‘okina (the glottal stop) is one of the eight consonants in Hawaiian and must be sung like any other consonant.

We left the university for Cathedral Church of Saint Andrews in downtown Honolulu. Just a block away from the capitol, this beautiful space houses the largest pipe organ in the Pacific. Before the concert, we heard beautiful words from fellow glee club seniors Sam Sanders and Claire Paulson about both the special meanings of Aloha and Glee. It definitely got us in the mood for a great concert, which was packed!  It was a privilege to sing John McCreary’s (the long-time organist at St. Andrews and great uncle of our very own Helen!) beautiful Hawaiian piece as an encore.

We had one more day to explore Waikiki and the weather finally cooperated! It was sunny and hot all day and everyone enjoyed spending some final hours swimming, tanning, eating, and drinking in Waikiki. We sang “Bright College Years” each time we lost a group of people at airports, up until a final rendition in New Haven Sunday afternoon, just as the St. Patrick’s day parade was ending. We all appreciated the opportunity to experience a slice of paradise and are all so grateful to Peter, Cynthia, Jeff, Sean, all our hosts, and all the others who made this trip possible! Now, more Mozart!

ALOHAAAA


Monday, 6am. Sitting on the floor of the LAX terminal, venti coffee in hand, staring blankly at the Bananagrams tiles scattered across the stained carpet.

2 time zones ahead, 2 pm, Honolulu. Jamba Juice at the Ala Moana Center. Birds, beaches, and green seem to be everywhere. We learn the one Hawaiian word we must know, Mahalo. Apparently two consonants never exist in a row in the Hawaiian language. (I spent the rest of the trip searching for exceptions, to no avail.)


3:15 pm. No time to lose! We hike up Diamond Head Volcano. There is nothing quite like looking over miles and miles of beach, mountains, trees, water with no end that fuses into sky with no beginning. Triumphantly yoiking the mountain wind is only natural at this moment. And when it starts pouring on our decline, frolicking across the hills in the rain is deemed necessary.


6:15 pm. A bit overwhelmed and still quite wet, wandering around a large room filled with colorful clothing and colorful food. Hana hou, encore, is our word. The hosts for our homestay, a small woman and her widely-smiling daughter find us and greet us for a potluck dinner. The Windward Choral Society sings a Hawaiian song to welcome us to Kailua.

Tuesday morning. Severe flooding and pouring rain. Luckily our hosts drive us straight to a delicious acai smoothie breakfast. Salvation army is the destination for most glee-clubbers. (I prefer “Bead-it!” and take refuge in a coffee shop).

2:30 pm. We meet for a rehearsal at the Windward United Church of Christ, where we adapt to singing against the consistent downpour of rain, and are overjoyed that we no longer need to simulate the sound of the wind blowing in the middle section of Zephyr Rounds. After a wonderful dinner with our hosts of vegetables and pork and the-most-delicious-pineapple-I’ll-probably-ever-eat-in-my-life, the weather finally calms and our concert begins.
           
7 pm. The completely packed church unfortunately makes it difficult to carry out our traditional sprint down the aisles, but it is exciting to perform and engage with such an enthusiastic audience. It’s such a pleasure to sing Na Ke Akua Oe E Kia'i, a song written by John McCreary, with the Windward Chorale. My favorite concerts are those with an intimate feel, where we stand close enough to make eye contact with audience members, and the rare occasions in which we get to sing in a chorus twice our size are always mind-blowing.

That night. Returning to our homestay for the second night to find 4 bags of Hawaiian coffee and chocolate-covered macademia nuts resting on our suitcases, and then chatting with our hosts for the last time. According to the Hawaiian law of Aloha, “Aloha means mutual regard and affection, and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return,” and it means "to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen, and to know the unknowable.” Between the hospitality of the wonderful people we met and the natural beauty and mystique of the island, I think we’re finally beginning to grasp the meaning of the Aloha spirit. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sightseeing in CA

Before we continue on to the Hawai'i portion of our trip, Goh Wee Shian reminisces about our California activities. 

The long awaited spring tour has finally arrived! High in spirits, the glee club set off on Friday to their first stop at California.

San Diego was refreshing in many aspects. Aside from the wonderful weather, San Diego also boasts some incredibly beautiful spots. For example, we visited the Garden of the Self-Realization Fellowship located in San Diego County. Taking a stroll in the gardens definitely gave me a sense of serenity. Moreover, the garden was situated on top of a hill and offered a magnificent view of the beach. The ebb and flow of the waves, together with the occasional breeze that brushed across my cheek, were inexplicably therapeutic, casting all my worries out of my mind momentarily.

Next, we visited the Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island. This edifice counts ex-presidents, royalties and head of states as amongst its many distinguished and important guests. Thereafter, we wasted no time in hurrying to the beach, where we then promptly removed our shoes and stepped into the water. Before long, many of us were climbing the rocks along the coast. The more daring ones went further out and perched themselves precariously on some of the more irregular-shaped rocks. It was interesting to observe the incredibly rich array of marine life and community that existed among the rocks, including sea urchins and clams.

Thereafter, we performed our first tour concert at the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego. It was immensely gratifying to perform to a strong turnout at the concert.

The Yale Whiffenpoofs also joined us in the performance. They captured the hearts of the audiences with their incredibly captivating voices and choreography. After the concert, I finally met my host, who had so kindly offered her place for me to stay for that night. The homestay was in my opinion the mainstay of the spring tour experience, because we had the opportunity to interact with the host families on such a personal level. The house was sprawling and located atop a hill within an affluent community. More importantly, my host family was extremely generous and hospitable, and even went out of the way to ensure that we feel at home. For example, she prepared food bags before we left, knowing that we would be hungry while travelling on the bus. We were really fortunate to have met such an incredible host family.

On the second day, we performed at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. All of us could not stop marveling at the exquisite and breathtakingly beautiful interior. Thereafter, we left for Hollywood! It was surreal to finally come into encounter with this world-famous district! We had a great meal at In-N-Out Burger, followed by a casual walk around the district. I particularly enjoyed my time at the Chinese Theater, where I managed to take some photographs with the handprints and footprints of famous movie stars, including that of George Clooney!

California seems to me like paradise on Earth. With its distinctive laidback culture, its wonderful fun-loving and warm-hearted people, its amazing weather, and its beautiful beaches, it definitely counts as one of my ideal places to live in the future!

SPRING TOUR Stop 2: Los Angeles

After spending the night in wonderful homestays in San Diego (after the concert our host family took us immediately to In N Out Burger, on which this post will elaborate...), we drove right back to LA for our second concert. Jacob Metrick '13 writes about some things that particularly stood out. 


Three facts:

1. The Glee Club is freakin’ good at singing. Well, at least according to the completely unbiased cousins (and parent) of mine, we’ve never sounded better.

We started out with two of my personal favorite pieces: Sanctus from Martin’s requiem, and four movements (I, II, V, and VI) from Howells’ requiem. The Sanctus is extremely powerful in its emotional range: it has sections like the end which seem to evoke more passion and fire than any other piece, which is contrasted by the intensity of the quieter sections. I could talk all day about Howells requiem, but the best thing I could say is that the piece is downright beautiful. Every moment of it is meaningful and touching.

Later in the concert, our rendition of Past Life Melodies in particular seemed to capture the audiences’ attention. It is supposed to evoke Tibetan chant, Australian Aboriginie songs and Mongolian throat singing, all wrapped up into one truly unique experience. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, and I’ve never heard anything like that.

One final note: singing those old-school Yale songs is hella fun and tradition-y.


Four In N Out Burger Double-Doubles pictured in
"Protein Style" 
2. In LA, In N Out Burger is king. In fact, it may be king of other places too. You can’t beat the value of a Double-Double for $2.79, and the patties are never frozen. That’s why they aren’t found outside the West Coast; every In N Out location must be within one day’s drive of its only distribution center in Baldwin Park, CA. Gotta love the nostalgic red-palm décor and paper hats. I won’t go so far as to say it’s the best burger.

3. LA is filled with beautiful. I’ve already mentioned the beautiful singing and beautiful burgers. But there are also beautiful views, which we got to see on our drive back from San Diego today, as we skirted the coast north, seeing the ocean as we overtook hill after hill. Of course, the weather we had was beautiful. I heard that the weather broke record highs, with temperatures around 80 degrees. If you live in almost anywhere else, I probably just made you jealous. Sorry I’m not sorry.

The organ at the First Congregational
Church of Los Angeles
Not least of all was the beautiful church we got to sing in today. It may have been a little serpentine in its layout (at times, it seems like I ended up everywhere except where I wanted to be), but man was this place nice. There were beautiful stained glass windows all over the place. It was made totally of stone, which doesn’t mean much until you consider the moody lighting in there (they got it pretty dark) which kinda made it feel like we were singing in the middle ages, or in some movie. What about the organ, you ask? That was movie like too, but I’ll let the picture speak for itself.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

SPRING TOUR DAY 1: San Diego

The first stop on our tour was to sunny San Diego! We drove there after a night in LA, stopping on the way to reflect in the breathtaking Self-Realization Fellowship Gardens in Encinitas, and then to sink our toes into the sand for the first time at Coronado Island. Ashby Cogan '14 writes about our first concert of tour: 


After a couple hours soaking up the sun and ensuring a prosperous quarter for the MooTime Creamery, the Glee Club boarded the buses to the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego for rehearsal and joint concert with the Whiffenpoofs.

We speedily rehearsed our program, which included many pieces we had not sung in a while. Among them, terrifyingly, was a 24-part canon we had not performed since December. With fewer than fifteen minutes to review it we ironed out our missed entrances and proceeded through the program.

Pre-concert energy levels varied—personally I felt like the jetlag monster had just scraped me off the bottom of its shoe—but as we got ready to go on and sing the first concert of our spring tour, the excitement was contagious. Being one of the last to go onstage, I listened to the audience applauding for a good sixty seconds; it was a full house.

Pensive glee clubbers in the Self-Realization Gardens
After singing the Yale song "Gaudeamus," we began our program with the Sanctus from Frank Martin's Mass for double choir. From its opening that evokes ringing church bells all the way through our first set—the 24-voice canon went smoothly!—the Glee Club's focus felt almost palpable to me. The intensity with which everyone committed to making beautiful, thought-provoking music was so exciting!

After intermission we enjoyed the Whiffs' set and patiently endured their ridicule of our eclectic program. Who could blame them for being a little insecure? Did any of their pieces begin with the tenors interrupting the director's address to the audience mid-sentence by breaking into pitched screams? Didn't think so.

In the second half we invited the Whiffs onstage again for "Raise Your Voices," which Jeff wrote for the Glee Club's 150th anniversary season last year, and the Football Medley. We closed, according to custom, with our alma mater, "Bright College Years." The alums in the audience stood along with us for the final handkerchief salute.

We headed off to our homestays full of post-concert glow. I couldn't believe how wonderfully everything had come together for an awesome concert—and I couldn't wait to do it again in LA!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Best 24 Hour Tour Ever"




-In the words of Jeff Douma. But I think we'd all agree that our trip to Providence this past weekend for the American Choral Directors Association convention was both a great performing and bonding experience, despite the time constraint. Terrence Chin-Loy '14 writes about our experience:

Which choir has the willpower and drive to wake up by 6 AM and be ready to sing beautifully for a crowd full of scrutinizing conductors at 10 AM? The Yale Glee Club. 

This past weekend, the Glee Club performed at the ACDA’s (American Choral Directors Association) Northeast Conference. Numerous conductors were present representing an even larger number of people from their respective choirs. Performing in a room full of people who knew all about proper
cut-offs, correct placement of ‘s’es, and basically every other intricacy of choral singing was a daunting task and we prepared arduously to meet it.

On a beautiful Friday morning, we boarded the buses at 12:30 PM with the intention of leaving at 1 PM! Of course there were moans and groans about having to sing at 10 AM the next day, but I could sense that there was excitement in the air. After what felt like an eternity, we finally arrived in Providence and promptly entered the church where we would be singing. Only having thirty minutes of sound check, we ran through everything quickly. Our formation had taken on the form of nine rows on the oddly crowded steps. We are a large group, but we made ourselves fit!

After our sound check, we checked into our hotel. Some of us decided to explore a bit, some did work, and some took the ever-present option of sleeping. Soon it was time for dinner and we all enjoyed each others’ company over lots of pizza. Little did we know an amazing concert was around the corner.

Jeff looking out for his crew
(proof story time actually happened)
As part of the ACDA concert, a group called I Fagiolini came as guest performers. Although they market themselves as an early music group, they sang everything from Monteverdi to a new work entitled Cries of London (this concert even included the Beatles!). The concert really pumped us up for our own concert the next day. Upon arrival to the hotel, Jeff read us a bedtime story from Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book to aid in our quest for slumber.

The next morning, we all regrouped and had breakfast in our hotel and headed straight out to Providence College where most of us would experience the earliest vocal warm-up of our lives. Only around 7:30 AM, some were still fighting to believe the early start to the day was real. Miraculously, however, we managed to sound great. Everything seemed to be coming together and it was then that I knew we would have a great performance.

The moment, we stepped on stage, I thought about all the choral conductors in the audience and what their conceptions of a Yale group were. Did they believe us to simply be “smart kids who couldn’t really sing”? Were they going to compare us to choir schools like Westminster? This performance was not a competition, but it was our chance to show what our choir could do. The set that Jeff chose was a wonderful mixture of pieces. We began with the thrilling Zephyr Rounds, followed by the Howells Requiem. Robert Vuichard, the composer of the former piece was in the audience and stood up for us in gratitude once we completed it. We ended the set with two American pieces: All the Pretty Little Horses and My Journey Home. After our final booming chord, the crowd began to find their way to their feet, culminating in a standing ovation. I couldn’t have been more proud of the Glee Club. Jeff clearly felt the same way.

Back at home, before parting ways, we sang Bright College Years to mark the end to a great weekend. One thing I realized about this past weekend’s concert was that although we didn’t have much down time, I really enjoyed spending time with everyone away from school. Strange as it may sound, I find myself excited for the next time we have to sing at 10 AM.