Read a review by Glee Clubber James Brown-Kinsella '19!
At the 103rd annual Princeton-Harvard Football concert, Richardson Auditorium was alive with tradition. From the moment we walked onstage to the final swell of applause after “Old Nassau,” we were outside of time, in an environment of musical joy and playful rivalry. Both of us, both the Princeton and (Fair) Harvard Glee Clubs, carried on our ancient legacies in uniquely traditional ways.
Princeton’s music for the evening drew on the rich tradition of choral music in the Baltic states. We opened the night with “Piispa ja pakana: The Bishop and the Pagan,” a savagely beautiful song about the demise of Saint Henry on his mission to Finland. Renowned Estonian composer Veljo Tormis unites two accounts of the tale: a latin Gregorian chant praising dear brother Henry for his ultimate sacrifice and an ancient Finnish song of warrior writhing in rage to kill him. Passing through lullabies and prayers, we brought our set to a close with folk music. Our parting piece, “Rotala,” invited the audience to join in a tumultuous dance of frenzied song.
This year, the freshmen were not lacking in inspiration for their skit. Playing off of the Harvard Glee Club’s tradition of male exclusivity, the freshmen satirized their audition process. Ty Gardner ‘20 played the Director as several others ran to center stage, sang a note, and were either accepted or denied. Without fail, every single woman was rejected from the Harvard Glee Club, yet all the men, even if they only coughed, were warmly welcomed in. One man who wore a wig and sang falsetto was nearly turned away until he removed his disguise and, of course, took his place among the men.
Harvard’s night was historically minded as well. This marked the last Princeton-Harvard football concert for Bernard Kreger, an accompanist, singer, and all-around leader for the Harvard Glee Club since 1959. After 57 years of service without missing a single football concert, Dr Kreger has decided to retire. Although a Harvardian, he has become an indelible part of our living football concert tradition, so it was proper and pleasant to celebrate him with a special gift from our students.
The night ended in warm pride as the Harvard Glee Club joined us to flood the stage as we sang our alma maters. Another year of orange paper airplanes, crimson handkerchiefs, and great music, well done.