You may have heard their voices echoing through the Diag on Monday, or perhaps you”ve caught a few fly away notes as you walked past their rehearsals. Either way, if you have had the opportunity to hear the Men”s Glee Club you know that they are some of the most talented and dedicated students on campus. Tomorrow at 8 p.m. they will take the stage at Hill Auditorium in their 142nd Annual Fall Concert with special guest, The University of Notre Dame Glee Club.
The Club”s musical director, Jerry Blackstone, has chosen a diverse repertoire for this year”s concert, with songs ranging from Russian classical pieces to Southern Baptist spirituals. School of Music junior and Glee Club member Tom FitzStephens said, “the concert has a wide range of emotions expressed,” with both somber, pensive songs and more playful, exciting ones as well.
As is tradition, the maize and blue enthusiasts will have plenty to keep them cheering, with performances of a series of songs written by Theodore Morrison, a University professor and one by Stephen Chapman, a University alum. This is in addition to the staple inclusions of the University fight song and alma mater.
This year should be especially spirited due to the guest performance of Notre Dame”s Glee Club that will no doubt stir up some rivalry between the two groups. The singers hope to make this a fun aspect of the show, by both groups taking on the challenge of performing the other school”s alma mater.
For many students, choral music is not their idea of a rocking concert, but the Men”s Glee Club has covered all their bases.
The Friars are an a cappella octet selected from within the group that performs popular rock, pop and jazz songs. Mixed with their unique brand of humor and showmanship that has entertained audiences for over 40 years, FitzStevens said the Friars always succeed in getting the crowd excited because “they”re so funny and entertaining.”
Organized in 1859, the Men”s Glee Club is the second oldest collegiate chorus in America and the oldest student organization on the Michigan campus. They boast an unrivaled reputation, having performed at the White House and in concerts throughout the nation and the world in locations as diverse as Eastern Europe and the Far East.
While this is definitely a hard act to follow, Blackstone promises that Notre Dame”s Glee Club is a “wonderful musical ensemble.” He said, “they were here several years ago for one of our April concerts and it”s a great privilege to have them back.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night for many will be that most of the show was organized by the students themselves. FitzStephens says he expects his peers to “be very impressed with the musical ability of the Glee Club.”
Just as these hard-working young men have earned their reputation, so has the tradition that began 142 years ago earned its place in Michigan history. For many university music-lovers, the Fall concert is a highlight of their year, one they can depend on for a night of music, entertainment and Michigan pride.