Thursday, November 27, 2014

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 never forget.

Now for the actual concert! After jogging onto the stage, we opened with our traditional "Gaudeamus," which is the oldest song in our repertoire that was sung by the original Yale Glee Club of 1861. Afterwards we sang two Angus Dei's--the first a setting by renaissance composer William Byrd, and the second a setting by Frank Martin, which we also sang at Harvard. If you've never heard them before, I suggest looking them up on Youtube! They're absolutely beautiful.

Then it was time for Chamber Singers! Last week at Princeton they sang Max Reger's "Nachtlied," but this week they changed it up with a Renaissance piece by Monteverdi. Once again, great job Max and the Chamber Singers! After the Chamber Singers' piece, we sang the two new pieces that we premiered at Princeton--"Telegram" and "Valentine for Hands"--and sang two Moses Hogan arrangements. The first was "Down by the Riverside," which featured three amazing soloists. Shout-out to Chris Valdez, Dayrin Jones, and Simon Horn for doing such an great job! You guys totally killed it. The second spiritual, "My Soul's Been Anchored," is one that we haven't sung since Family Weekend, but I'm glad that Jeff decided to pull it out again for this concert. It's one of my favorite pieces in this year's repertoire, and it's hard not to get excited when singing it! (But not too excited, or Jeff will start doing that thing where he looks intensely at his hands as he's conducting--which means that we're definitely NOT following his tempo...sorry Jeff!)

Then there were the Yale songs. Our president, Rachel Protacio, had three hilarious Eli Yale verses that made ample fun of Harvard without being too mean. I can't remember all of them, but I remember the last one being something like, "Tomorrow at The Game, I know Yale will be victorious" (Cue ten seconds of laughter from the Harvard crowd) "Which will make our week long Thanksgiving break all the more glorious." (School on Monday, anyone?) This was followed by the now traditional "Raise Your Voices" and the fight songs. Also, shout out to those who participated in this year's prank! It involved a Yale wizard defeating an evil Harvard student. I must admit that I've never seen Harry Potter so I may be missing something here...but I know that Yale is often compared to Hogwarts, so I got that part! Ripping off the Harvard t-shirt at the end was also a nice touch. Although I don't know the names of everyone who planned the prank, a special shout to Jeb and Eleanor for their hilarious performance!

Rachel Protacio singing "Eli Yale"

After our fight songs it was time for Harvard to take the stage. They sang a variety of music as well, with a mixture of spirituals, new music, and traditional choral repertoire. The Harvard Glee Club Lite also performed three songs, complete with choreography and air guitar playing. It's always interesting to listen to the same singers who just sang a renaissance piece sing modern pop music in the same concert. During their fight songs there was the traditional hissing and yelling "sucks!" whenever they sang the word "Harvard," but it was of course all in good fun. And traditions must continue!

To end the concert we joined the Harvard Glee Club on stage and sang each other's Alma Mater, along with any alumni who were in the audience. There were quite a few Glee Club alumni who came to the concert, so it was great to see some familiar faces among a mostly Harvard crowd. Thanks for the support guys!

All in all, it was another great concert, so congratulations everyone for a great performance. We may not have won the game, but we always win the concert. Our next event will be the Messiah Sing-Along at Battell Chapel on December 7th, and then our annual concert at the Yale Club in New York, which will mark the end of the Yale Glee Club season this semester. We'll then return in 2015 with a short tour to Montreal and Vermont--so be excited for that! Details to come.

Until Next Time,

Victoria Pierre

Saturday, November 15, 2014

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 beautiful sacred pieces. The first was the first movement of the Brahms "Ein Deutsches Requiem," and the second was the Angus Dei from Frank Martin's "Mass for Double Choir." The Brahms was accompanied by our very own Jonathan Rajaseelan and Tim Laciano, who played the four hands piano reduction written by Brahms himself. We'll be singing the entire Requiem next semester with a a full orchestra, so be on the lookout! The second piece, the Angus Dei, is a personal favorite of mine. We sang the Sanctus from the Martin Mass during the 2011-2012 season, so the seniors were especially excited to be singing another movement from Martin's gorgeous setting. It sounded especially beautiful tonight--singing in front of an audience gave it the extra "oomph" that it needed. Can't wait to sing it again at the Harvard concert!

We also sang some folk songs, one of which was a beautiful song about friendship, written by Jeff and dedicated to his son, entitled, "I'll Go With You." The second folk piece was "Unclouded Day," a fun spiritual that gives the Glee Club a chance to belt in a sacred harp style--and who doesn't love doing that? We also sang the traditional fight songs, accompanied by the annual prank. This year's prank involved a Glee Clubber in a tiger suit being led across the stage on a leash (it was very difficult to keep from laughing when he was all but pulled across the stage) which was greeted by the usual hissing from our rivals.

Then of course there was the premiere of this year's Chamber Singers! (You thought I was done with premieres didn't you?) Under the direction of the lovely Max Holmon, the Chamber singers sang "Nachtlied," a beautiful and harmonically challenging piece by the German composer Max Reger. Congratulations Max and the Chamber Singers on a great first performance!

The Chamber Singers performing "Nachtlied"

Then there was Princeton. Rivals though they may be, no one can deny that they sounded absolutely sublime. They sang a variety of music, ranging from Purcell's "Hear My Prayer" to English folk song "Seventeen Come Sunday" to a Gospel inspired setting of The Lord's Prayer.

All in all, it was a great concert, and a tradition that we hope will continue in the generations to come! Onward to Harvard!

With Glove,

Victoria Pierre