From the hushed silence bursts a perfectly pitched note, causing hairs to bristle in resonance as the audience waits for the live power of the performance to pour over them. It is this emotional fervor that defines the Michigan Men’s Glee Club. Under the new directorship of Eugene Rogers, we will see not only this familiar energy, but also a new level of global depth within the repertoire that advances the lauded tradition of the Michigan Men’s Glee Club.
Men’s Glee Club: 152nd Annual Fall Hill Concert
Tomorrow at 8 p.m.
“(It’s) not just singing diverse types of music, but actually in giving of ourselves to that repertoire with a fuller understanding of the music and its culture and where it come from, and then to do that with as much authentically as possible,” Rogers said.
Rogers is associate director of choirs and assistant professor of conducting in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. He has taken over the reign of the Michigan Men’s Glee Club and will be debuting four premiere pieces in his first concert as director tomorrow in the 152nd Annual Fall Hill Auditorium Concert.
“We’re doing everything from classical pieces to spirituals, music from Germany, Latvia, America — anywhere you can imagine,” said Raul Jimenez, public relations manager for the Men’s Glee Club and a junior in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. “It has been a challenging transition, but Director Rogers has brought this twist to everything, which has added so much to our identity as a group.”
Among these new twists is Rogers’s “Pan African Medley.” This song combines six African pieces and its compilation speaks to the range of stylistic breadth that Rogers has as a composer and director.
“These pieces are not connected as much by text but in that they show you different types of African expression, which spans from primal energy to traditional South African music, from joyful Tanzanian tunes to slow and intimate moments, before ending in a triumphant Zulu anthem,” Rogers said.
The Men’s Glee Club will also perform Dave Matthews’s “Gravedigger” and Timothy Takach’s “Luceat Eis” — which remembers the death of 9/11 victim Mary-Yolanda Dowling and reminds us of the value of selflessness during the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.
The show also features a special performance by students from Renaissance High School in Detroit through the “Brothers In Song” program, which Jimenez describes as “a diversity and community engagement initiative that provides outreach to underrepresented choral programs across the state.”
The “Brothers In Song” program has grown large, thanks to the work of University alumni and has emerged on other college campuses. In the concert, the 10 young men from Renaissance High School will both sing their own material and join in collaboration with the Glee Club.
“But it is not just about singing,” Rogers said. “It is about engaging them and showing them our school. It’s a tangible way to connect with others who have trouble imagining themselves at this university. That bridge begins with the Glee Club, and I am very honored to be a part of that.”