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Showing posts from 2014

Yale Glee Club Outreach!

Here is a blog post written by one of our co-CEO's (community engagement officers), Alison Levosky, about a recent outreach event that Glee Clubbers took part in. Read below!
About two weeks ago, a few members of the Glee Club had the privilege of traveling to City College Academy of the Arts (CCAA), a secondary school in Manhattan, where they were excited to be able to use their musical experiences to work with some of the students there. Martin Toomajian, who is a Yale alum (JE '06) and directs the glee club and the musical theatre at CCAA, reached out to the Community Engagement Officers of the YGC, Dan Rubins and I. Together, we were able to plan a very meaningful event for all involved.
The day's schedule was full of both fun and serious musical work: Glee Clubbers sang a few Yale songs for the CCAA students, and then the students sang and danced for the Glee Clubbers to show their hard work in preparation for their upcoming musical, Once Upon a Mattress. Then, th…

Yale Club + Messiah + End of the Year Musings


What a semester. Finals are over, students are heading home, and the Glee Club gets a three week break before meeting again in New Haven to head over to Montreal and Burlington for Winter Tour! More about our tour plans at the end of the blog post. First, let's talk about the concerts!

On Friday, December 5th, we had our annual concert at the Yale Club in New York, which is arguably our favorite concert of the semester. Not only do they feed us delicious food catered by the Yale Club, but we get to sing in front of perhaps our most friendly audience that we get all year--Yale alumni. From the Yale Club decorated for the holidays, to singing carols with the audience in-between pieces during the concert, it's a concert that really puts us in the mood for the holidays. We walked into the room singing "Deck the Hall," and then tried as best we could to cram ourselves onto the platform meant to hold a group half our size. It's a struggle every year, but we alway…

Yale-Harvard Concert 2014!

After a two and a half hour bus ride, the Yale Glee Club descended upon Cambridge!

We were greeted by our Harvard hosts upon our arrival, and were then shuttled off into the depths of Sanders Theatre to put away our things. For those of you who've never been, I have to say that Sanders is quite a beautiful place! The acoustics are much more friendly to us than they are at home in Woolsey, something that we figured out quickly once we began to rehearse in the space. After rehearsal we were treated by the Harvard Glee Club to pizza and salad (Although we were told earlier that we would be getting Panera...still don't know if that was a joke or simply poor planning) and then we put on our concert attire and gathered for the pep talk. What a pep talk! Dan Rubins wrote a Dr. Seuss style pep talk, in which he had a cute and/or funny line for each member of the Glee Club. If he wouldn't mind, I'd love to post it some time in the future! It was certainly a pep talk I'll ne…

Yale-Princeton Concert 2014

Wow, what a concert!

Not only did we premiere three new pieces--"Telegram," "Valentine for Hands," and "The World Meets Here," but the composers, and in the case of Telegram, the poet, were all present to hear their pieces sung for the first time in front of a live audience. "Telegram" is a setting of a poem by Annie Finch, put to music by the Pulitzer Prize and Grammy award winning composer Jennifer Higdon. Although Jennifer was unable to come to the premiere, we're so glad that Annie was able to make it! Another composer, winner of the Glee Club 2014 Emerging Composers Competition, Dale Trumbore, came all the way from California to hear the premiere of her piece, "Valentine for Hands." Last but not least, we premiered "The World Meets Here" by Scarlett Zuo, the Glee Club student conductor and winner of this year's Fenno Heath Award. So many premieres!

Besides the new music that was premiered, we also sang two beauti…

Family Weekend Concert 2014!

As Freshman First We Came to Yale...

On Saturday, October 11th, we had our annual Family Weekend Concert with the Yale Symphony Orchestra and the Yale Concert Band! We sang a variety of music, including the premier of a piece that Jeff arranged for us this year called, "I'll Go With You." Elias Bartholomew, a sophomore in the Glee Club, volunteered to write a short blog post about his experience. Read it below!

Woolsey Hall, filled silent with Yale families, alumni, music enthusiasts, and ornithologists, sat waiting. We, the 154th Yale Glee Club, ran in at a brisk clip. And, having bowed in perfect sync, we sang “Gaudeamus Igitur.” Though it is as old as the Glee Club (we know they sang it in 1861), this song rings true to me every time we perform it. “Gaudeamus” is a call to rejoice in the traditions that bring people together. Namely academia, but also, as was evident on Saturday night, music.

After reminding ourselves that music was a great tradition, we rejoiced in…

New Officers, New Glee Clubbers, and Mahler!

This blog has been long overdue, but for those of you who haven't been following us on Facebook, this blog will fill you in on what's been going on these first few weeks of school, and what the Glee Club has been up to!

First things first, I'll introduce our new officer core!

President: Rachel Protacio
Manager: Ellie Killiam
Alumni Coordinator: Lisa Zhang
Archivists: Paul Styslinger and Kiri Van Lengen-Welty
International Tour Managers: Max Bryski and Marianna Gailus
Mini-Tour Managers: Emma Hathaway and Jane Strauch
Outreach Chairs: Alison Levosky and Dan Rubins
Publicity Chair: Victoria Pierre
Social Chairs: Ruthie Prillaman and Alex Turner
Stage Manager: Brooke Lamell
Wardrobe Manager: Zoya Afridi
Student Conductor: Scarlett Zuo
Assistant Conductor: Max Holman

As you can see, this year we've got quite a large group! We've also created two new positions, that of Alumni Coordinator and Mini-Tour Managers. It was decided at the end of last year that having someone deal specific…

Banquet: O why doth time so quickly fly?

It's not a strange feeling on YGC tour to suddenly find yourself preparing for banquet after what seems like no time has passed since tour started. Yale students are all too familiar to how time seems to slow down in a struggle period and have it speed right past you when things finally relax. But banquet comes at the perfect time in our tours. Wrapping up the tail end of our domestic tour, banquet is the time to reminisce over newly formed memories, catch up on the last bit of craziness before heading home, and express the much deserved thanks to the many people who really made the tour possible. Oh, and I can't forget the singing too! We revisit old songs from past years, sing current pieces, and for some sight-reading pieces that were beloved from classes before. I hope you enjoy the snippets of video I managed to catch of our banquet at the Hotel Nacional. It was just as fun as it looks!

Always with glee-love,

Lisa Zhang
Publicity Chair

Carolina Cultural Exchange

On our last day in Cuba, we were first treated to a behind the scenes look of a Cuban cigar factory and learned how each handmade cigar was made from individual tobacco leaves to the richly aromatic cigars often coveted around the world. Unfortunately, we were unable to take any pictures or videos within the factory, however I can attest that the process is meticulous, organized, and remarkably productive. If I remember correctly, each day the factory can produce up to 20,000 (or 200,000?) cigars. Impressive, huh?

We later visited the Carolina choral groups, including the incredible Scola Cantorum Coralina, for a cultural exchange and informal concert. Among the performances, we were treated to an adorable children's choir, a mixed choir with members ranging from elementary school to high school, a high school choir, and, of course, the ridiculously amazing Schola Cantorum Carolina. Check out the videos below to see why!


Lisa Zhang
Publicity Chair

Concert and cars, lots of cars

On Thursday, our fourth day in Cuba, we performed our last concert in Old Havana in the Basilica Menor del Convento de San Francisco de Asis. The venue is a gorgeous space with high stone arches that really amped up the acoustics. We performed alongside Coro Entrevoces led by the delightful Digna Guerra. Their repertoire was a great amalgamation of challenging pieces, but what really stole the spotlight was an amazing rendition of a gospel piece led by a soloist who definitely hit a high E at the end! The video posted is the choir singing a Spanish piece we sang together at the end of their concert. They capture it's sweetness so perfectly and made it such a delight to sing with them during our concert :)

Classical Movements, the company that worked with us in planning this trip (as well as the trip to China last summer), has been essential in making this trip both as smooth and enjoyable as possible. They even arranged a surprise for us after our concert by arranging a ride in Ol…

Cultural Exchanges

Our fourth day in Cuba brought us back again to Habana after a blissful time in Matanzas, and on this day we visited the Escuela NAcional de Musica, a high school devoted to young musicians from all over Cuba to train them and prepare them for future studies and occupations as Cuba's finest musicians. Their presented a fantastic showcase for us, including a cello quartet, a clarinet ensemble, a jazz jam session, and girl's choir led by an extremely talented high school student. We, in return, performed for them a few pieces from our repertoire. On our last piece, El Guayaboso, many of the students joined us in a joint performance together. I can't have wished for a better unifying cultural exchange that this!

Lisa Zhang
Publicity Chair

Matanzas the Beautiful

On our third day in Cuba, we travelled to the city of Matanzas, which took about 2 hours to get to via bus. But the YGC wasn't complaining. In Matanzas, what we had waiting was well worth the travel. Not only did we spend a blissful hour in crystal clear blue waters of Varadero, but we were hosted by the Theoligical Seminary, which gave us a large and delicious homecooked meal. Later, we rehearsed and participate in a choral master class with Conductor Jose Antonio Mendez, who helped us on our rhythmic feel in El Guayaboso.

Later, at the concert, despite the extremely brutal conditions of being a full concert attire in the heat and humidity, we were lucky to hear the Coro de Camara de Matanzas perform beautiful renditions of their repertoire and perform in an amazing space. This might have been my favorite day of the entire tour, and hopefully you can see why down below!

with much glee,

Lisa Zhang
Publicity Chair


"...And on the third day, the Yale Glee Club arrived in Cuba, and it was good." - Jeff Douma (not really, but you can totally see him saying that, right?)

After the shortest international flight I have ever ridden (45 minutes!), we left Miami and arrived in Habana, Cuba! Thankfully, because of TSean's impeccable ability to cover all our bases, we were allowed into Cuba with ne'er a hitch.

After meeting our amazing tour guides, we ate a fantastic dinner and arrived at out hotel, Hotel Capri, which used to be a former mafia hotel. The following day, we were given a walking tour of old Habana, and at our lunch (which was again delicious), some lucky members of the glee club got to dance with the local dancing duo at the restaurant. Let's just say things got pretty crazy once the whole glee club decided to join in. Watch out for Dayrin, our YGC dancing star, handling his own in a dance battle with the sultry female salsa dancer!

ft. Claire Donnelley and Franklyn Zhu

A glimpse of our Florida homestays!

What's great about domestic tour is that we get the amazing opportunity to meet new people through our homestay experiences. We are so grateful to all our homestays as they volunteer to welcome us into their homes (and their fridges), and often we get to have the most interesting conversations with them! Often, most homestays are either Yale alumni or members of the hosting organization. YGC members tend to have the best of times with homestays as each small group of students gets a unique experience, and our homestays in Miami were no exception. Notably, we had students stay at beachhouses, modern suburban houses, and even an estate on a private island! The video below is just one example of the many incredible experiences the YGC has with each homestay opportunity.

We cannot express our appreciate and gratitude enough for our homestays' kindness and generosity. We love getting to know you all, even if it's only for a few hours in the late evening over a bowl of icecream …

Day 1: Miami, Florida!

Day 1 of Florida: MIAMI, TRIIICCCK!

The YGC thanked the weather gods the day we landed in Miami. Not only was it in the low 70s when we arrived in Florida, but we were lucky to spend a good two hours roaming the sandy beaches of Miami. Unfortunately for some of us, sunburns also happened to catch us by surprise. Here is just a short video of our first moments on the beach!

Lisa Zhang
Publicity Chair

paKIN! - Hello from after Florida-Cuba Tour!

Hello everyone!

Thank you for being so patient with the blog. I know it's been a bit radio-silent for a while, but rest assured many many videos from our past tour to Florida and Cuba will be arriving!

So much has happened in such a short time during our Spring Break. We've finally been able to break out the shorts after a bitter New Haven winter, subsequently got extremely sunburned, safely made it in and out of Cuba without the FBI storming in, and even came up with a new hashtag - #paKIN (if you listen closely to the soprano section in El Guayaboso, you'll get the reference). Just want to give a shout out to all the amazing work our manager TSean, our tour managers Rachel and Ellie, and Jeff have put into making this tour an absolute gem in YGC tour history. Cuba wouldn't have been the same without you guys!

Love from the bottom of our gleeful hearts,

Lisa Zhang and the rest of the YGC