Thursday, December 18, 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!

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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, the YGC members quickly learned the end of the finale of the musical and sang with the students to help them gain confidence for the end of their show. Next, the middle school and high school students broke off into different groups with the different YGC singers, and they had a chance to ask questions about music, or college, or Yale, or anything else they could think of! Finally, the groups came together to sing a combination of the alma maters of Yale and CCAA.

While the schedule sounds busy, it was so much more than a busy day for these Glee Clubbers, who also had a concert at the Yale Club the same night. One of our singers said, "Besides helping the kids with their music, I think our presence was really impactful in the sense that a lot of them expressed a happy surprise that we were personable and excited to talk to them - it seemed to take some of the scariness out of "College" for them, and a lot of what we told them about our own high school and college experiences showed them that they're more ready than they think." This seemed true for all of the groups; the students were so excited to be able to work with the Yale students, hear them sing, and realize that we are not so different from them.

Another singer mentioned the power of music, noting that "it is such a beautiful thing to watch music connect people who barely know each other, but share a love for what seems to be such a basic human experience...and it wasn't just about us teaching them, but it was about them reminding us of the pure joy of participating in music together." And it was true - though the day was fairly short and the friendships were built in only a few hours, it is a day that the Glee Clubbers and the students will be inspired by for many days to come. 

In a season of giving gifts, we as the Glee Club would like to express our thankfulness for the music we have to give and to share with our community, and we look forward to more events in which music can strengthen the ties of our community - whether in Manhattan, New Haven, New England, or beyond.