As we all pause for a few days to reconnect with our loved ones, I am filled with a sense of gratitude for everything that our Glee Club is, and everything it stands for. I’m so honored to be able to lead these students through their discoveries of great music, and to have been given the chance to maintain this most noble of legacies. And this year, I must express particular gratitude to the many alumni who have stepped forward to support us in numerous ways – it really would not be the same, nor would it be nearly so worthwhile, without you.
What a year it has been. Back in March, our Nollner Concert gave us the opportunity to present Handel’s fire-breathing oratorio Israel in Egypt. I will never forget the sound of all-consuming thunder which the choir managed to generate in the chorus ‘He Gave them Hailstones’, nor the looks of astonishment on the faces of the Glee Club when our bass soloists, Dashon Burton and Jonathan Woody, unleashed their full vocal might in ‘The Lord is a Man of War.’ I’m proud to say that our local classical music network WWFM have broadcast the concert in full on two separate occasions in the intervening months.
Poulenc and Ravel
Then came our first collaboration in many years with the Princeton University Orchestra – performing Poulenc’s Gloria and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé. This was a magical experience for all of us – and what a thrill for the University to see two hundred of its finest students making great music together. After this we survived finals, we had a memorable party at my house and we said goodbye to sixteen wonderful singers and waved them off to their bright futures.
At reunions we had our largest choir yet, and our largest audience yet, for our annual Spem in Alium event in the Chancellor Green Rotunda. Thanks to the efforts of Gene Kopelson and others from the class of 1973, we were also able to reconnect with a dearly loved former Director of the Glee Club, William Trego and sing for him too. See the short film and do take a moment to relive the splendor of it all, and share it with your friends.
Football Concerts and Centennial Celebration
In September a wonderful clutch of eager young singers joined the family and we began work on our most challenging season yet. Our trip to Harvard got the year off to a wonderful start, and then in November we welcomed a crowd of more than 600 (the biggest audience the Glee Club has attracted in at least a decade) for a special Centennial concert and celebration with the Yale Glee Club. To mark this event, we gathered your stories of concerts long past, we put together an exhibition of materials from the last century of Football Concerts on our website, we commissioned a fantastic new piece of music, and we had a lively banquet celebration. A centennial committee consisting of alumni representing each of the last four decades, together with a great number of our current students and senior University personnel, made a colossal effort to put all this together and the results will sustain us, I think, for ever. I’m so proud of, and grateful to everyone who gave their time to this effort. Thank you so much! If you were unfortunate enough to miss out on this wonderful evening, or if you simply want to relive it as many times as I do, then please proceed to
- see pictures of the concert
- watch the videos (including the commissioned work by Jaakko Mantyjarvi),
- catch our story cast interviews with alumni
- view the online exhibition of a century of Football Concert memorabilia
- and do give us your feedback!
Special thanks to current Glee Clubbers Cameron Johanning, Jon Choi and Warren Rieutort-Louis for their tireless help with these things.
We kicked off our holiday season by immersing ourselves in the great seasonal music of JS Bach, in preparation for our performances of the Magnificat and the motet Singet dem Herrn in Bach's church, the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, in January. What glorious music, and how readily the students rose to its challenges, with only two weeks of rehearsal to prepare. Preparations are currently being made for this concert to receive a WWFM broadcast around New Year, and I will of course update this blog with information when I have it. Our students took all the solo roles and performed marvelously – and the choir was at its very best. You can already see the photographs – audio excerpts will follow in due course.
We are one week away from setting off on a tour which brings us to Nürnberg (Rosstal), Prague and Leipzig. We’ll be celebrating New Year together and beginning 2014 in the perfect style, by performing Bach’s music in Bach’s church, with the renowned Leipzig Barock Orchester alongside us. We’re all tremendously excited at what’s ahead, and I am especially pleased that we’ll be able to spend these precious days focusing intensely on our music-making, since these are the circumstances in which a choir performs to its true potential. We’ll be keeping you up to date through our blog, so please visit it regularly or subscribe to its RSS feed to find out how our students are enjoying these musical and cultural adventures.
Very best wishes to all for a wonderful holiday season