The University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club will host a monumental Ambassadors of Song International Male Chorus Symposium lasting two days in celebration of the University of Michigan’s Bicentennial.
“The sheer size of this event is what makes it stand out: the Men’s Glee Club has never planned something like this before,” said Stephen Amori, Engineering senior and President of the Men’s Glee Club. “We’ve participated in several choral conferences in the past several years, but we’re very excited to finally bring our own to Ann Arbor.”
The event will feature performances from six premier university men’s glee clubs and choirs from across the country, as well as workshops with accomplished conductors and music directors from around the world. The event will conclude with a performance by Michigan Men’s Glee Club on Saturday night.
Featured collegiate choirs will perform and share their own repertoire, facilitating a spirit of musical collaboration and fraternization.
“I enjoy meeting and bonding with people from all different disciplines and backgrounds and not only making music with them, but sharing memories with them that will last a lifetime,” said SMTD Junior and Symposium Committee member Julian Goods.
However, a spirit of collaboration is closely followed by the spirit of friendly competition. LSA Senior and Symposium Committee Chair Teddy Gotfredson said “This is Michigan, and we need to prove to these visiting choirs that we truly are the leaders and best.”
The Ambassadors of Song Symposium places emphasis on international music by bringing conductors from all over the world to work with the glee clubs: “We have a lot of unique and very talented guests coming in — my favorite being Lhente-Mari Pitout, a choir director from South Africa,” Amori said. “The Glee Club had the chance to meet her and perform with her choir on our tour to South Africa in 2016, and it’ll be great to see her and the energy she brings to her music.”
The acclaimed guest conductors offer an opportunity to workshop musical technique from different places around the world, allowing for a global musical dialogue rather than an intranational dialogue. Not only does this event aim to celebrate international and collegiate musical traditions, but also to show the musical traditions of the University of Michigan itself.
“For this symposium, we are forming two choirs: a Michigan high-school choir and an alumni choir. Coupled with our performance, these three groups cover the ‘past, present, and future’ of our university, a great tribute during our bicentennial year,” Amori said.
This event is as much for musical brotherhood as it is for the alumni of Men’s Glee, allowing them to reconnect and sing together in celebration of music and the University’s Bicentennial. The symposium recognizes the people that helped to build and create the University’s esteemed musical reputation.
The Symposium ends with the performance by the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club.
“I’m most excited to share one of our newly commissioned pieces with our audience. It’s called ‘The Fisherman’s Song’ and is a Korean piece composed by Hyo-Won Woo, one of South Korea’s leading composers,” Gotfredson said. “The audience will be transported to the scene of fishermen on a boat on the waters off of the Korean peninsula.”
In addition, Men’s Glee will feature another piece they commissioned and an array of other repertoire.
Although the symposium is an extremely rewarding experience of camaraderie and musical excellence, it is equally as worthwhile for the audience.
“Never in your life will you be able to hear such amazing collegiate and professional choirs, and learn from some of the world’s best conductors in your backyard and all in one weekend,” Gotfredson said. “We are truly bringing the world of choral music to Ann Arbor.”