For those aching with nostalgia for their cherished college days, for students finally seeing summer approaching and for those in a celebratory mood, the Men’s Glee Club Spring Concert at Hill will bring people in from all across the University’s expansive campus.
This Saturday, the Glee Club will be celebrating the state and University of Michigan as a part of the larger Bicentennial. It is a time to reflect on another year — and another century — of groundbreaking work.
“I think that the bicentennial is a really great opportunity to reflect on all the things that have occurred at the university in the past, and all the different ways the audience has engaged with the university," said Glee Club President Patrick Kiessling. "I hope that our concert will help highlight those aspects as well as inspire people to keep doing these great things that we are celebrating.”
Casting their net over all of the Ann Arbor community, reaching anyone with the slightest affiliation to the University, the Glee Club will bring in a dynamic range of people for their celebration. Showcasing traditional songs of the University, songs featuring Michigan’s historic lumberjack industry, several original compositions by University students and faculty and songs that “evoke the beauty of both the University and state of Michigan,” the Glee Club will be showing their gratitude in the best way they know how.
“I hope that the audience comes away from the experience seeing how vital the U-M Men’s Glee Club is to the musical scene here at Michigan and being very proud of their own contributions and experiences here at U-M,” Kiessling said.
Following the True Blue concert by just one week, there is a palpable excitement surrounding the concert. After a successful premiere of “I Will Remember My Michigan” by alum William K. Brehm at the True Blue concert, anticipation runs high.
For those who missed the premiere of the new Michigan song, the Glee Club will be performing it again at their Spring Concert. For those keen on catching a premiere, a work composed by University of Michigan professor of composition, Kristin Kuster, may just fill that niche. A collaborative work with music written by Kristin Kuster and lyrics from Glee Club’s lyric submission contest, the piece explores different methods of composition.
“We had people submit lyrics, as long as they had any sort of affiliation with the University of Michigan whether they were a current student, an alumnus, a faculty member, retiree, we sent out a call for lyrics, we got a bunch and ended up doing a blind collection process,” Kiessling said.
With this contest, the Glee Club compiled the lyrics of an undergraduate student, a graduate student and an alumnus. While many of the works in the concert will appeal to the more traditional ear, those interested in exploring alternate music forms are bound to be satisfied as well.
The Glee Club will also perform more collaborative works from the collection “Searchlight Soul” by William Bolcom.
“Those pieces are particularly interesting in that they are works from 2009, and they’re set to texts by writers who were Michigan students at the time, so they’ve got some really interesting lyrics,” Kiessling added.
Kiessling stated that the concert will largely be “engaging with the state of Michigan’s history.”
“One of the things that I am really the most excited about is that we are doing a Motown medley, which is a little more contemporary than some of the pieces that we typically have in our repertoire, but it is just a lot of fun," Kiessling said. "We have choreography, and some really well known songs that I am sure our audience will really identify with and really enjoy.”
While Kiessling hopes to show “how vital the UM Men’s Glee Club is to the musical scene here at Michigan,” it is evident that the Glee Club works without borders, extending their influence across all of campus. With members of all different years and disciplines, the Men’s Glee Club serves as an icon for the University as a whole.
“We’ve got all different years, we’ve got grad students, freshmen, seniors and from all different schools as well. I’ve got friends in the business school, the architecture school, engineering, and the music school, but maybe I would have otherwise never met,” Kiessling said, reflecting on the effect that Glee Club has had on his friendships.
In an ensemble of students from all over the university, the Glee Club is creating ties all around campus, making a university with a student population of 44,718 feel united and just a little bit smaller.
With 19 different colleges consisting of undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff, along with several local business affiliations, one common interest has the power to bring vastly diverse and extraordinary groups of people together. The Glee Club is just one of many that the University of Michigan has to commemorate.