University of Michigan Men's Glee Club
|The University of Michigan Men's Glee Club|
The Key, the club's official logo
|Origin||Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA|
|Genres||Renaissance, Romantic, Opera Choruses, Folksongs, Spirituals, Contemporary, School Songs|
The University of Michigan Men's Glee Club is an all-male glee club (or choir) at the University of Michigan With roots tracing back to 1859, it is the second oldest glee club in the United States and is the oldest student organization at the University. It is notable for having won the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod on four separate occasions. Since 2011, the club's musical director has been Eugene Rogers.
The origins of the club stem from a variety of groups that came together in 1876. After a number of years including banjo and mandolin players in the club, it reverted to simply a vocal group by the mid-1920s. It received a substantial rise in profile under the directory of Philip Duey in the 1950s, who organised national, then international tours, and numerous television appearances. Since then, the club has continued to tour internationally at high-profile venues and sporadically record.
The club is entirely managed by students, except for the musical director, taken from the university staff. It has a number of traditions, including the practice of snapping fingers instead of clapping.
The club is a student-managed organisation, which undertakes all management facilities, including all finances and tour arrangements. Only the musical director is a member of the faculty. It accepts members from both undergraduates and graduates of the university, who are chosen by audition. Membership is made up of the majority of the university's 17 colleges.
The group is composed of about 100 singers from several of the schools and colleges at the University of Michigan. They perform repertoire ranging from music of the Renaissance to African-American spirituals. Their official motto is "In Tradition, Camaraderie, and Musical Excellence".
A number of traditions are upheld and recognised by choristers. Club members snap their fingers instead clap at each other's achievements (i.e. a good performance on a solo) because it is more difficult to clap with one's music in the other hand. The club hosts a banquet every spring where awards are presented.
Incarnations and early tours
Originally, there were individual Glee Clubs consisting of ten to twenty members, arranged by graduating class. The current framework of a cross-college club started with eight members in 1876, doubling to sixteen in 1877. Amongst their early repertoire included numbers written by Fred Newton Scott. In the 1890s, the organisation gained a banjo and mandolin club , causing the name to temporarily change to the University Glee, Banjo, and Mandolin Club. A Freshmen Glee Club was active during the 1890s and 1900s.
In the early twentieth century, the club held operas to help raise funds to build the Michigan Union. Because the club was male-only, all female parts were played by men. Several popular songs performed by the club, like "The Bum Army" and "Ann Arbor Days", were written during this time.
In 1908, the club began to be led by the university faculty, although its official history still notes that this was merely an "advisory" role for over a decade later. By 1914, the club included two smaller groups, the Varsity Quartette and the Midnight Sons, which allowed singers to tackle smaller groups such as barbershop effectively.
The "Banjo" was dropped from the name in 1905, and "Mandolin" in 1924, with the group simply becoming the University of Michigan Glee Club. The group was renamed the University of Michigan Men's Glee Club in 1938, in reference to a Women's Glee Club that had gained popularity during the 1930s, and between 1944 and 1948 was briefly known as the University of Michigan Varsity Club.
For most of the twentieth century, the club toured locally around Michigan, but did tour across other US states in 1926 and 1941. World War II prevented any touring, which did not resume until 1947.
The Duey Years and Later Tours
Under the tenure of Philip Duey, who conducted the Glee Club from 1947 to 1969, the Club gained national, then international attention. Through radio, television, recordings, and motion pictures, Duey made a national name for the club. In 1947, the group started recording numbers, including "The Friar's Song" and "'Tis of Michigan We Sing" in order to be broadcast on local radio. In 1954, the Glee Club provided the music for an RKO film, Songs of the Colleges, which featured scenes from colleges and universities from around the country. In the fall of 1951, the Glee Club started the tradition of performing joint concerts with the Glee Club of a football opponent when they invited the Cornell Glee Club to Ann Arbor. The Glee Club had not previously had the membership base or the financial resources to attempt an international trip, but in the spring of 1955, a four-week trip to Western Europe was undertaken. Highlights included an appearance at the American Embassy in Rome and a performance before Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.
In 1956, Dr. Walter Collins temporarily took over leadership of the club from Duey. During his tenure, an associated group, known as The Friars, was formed. It is named after a former drinking club at the University, and specializes in parodies of popular songs.
The European tour in 1959 commemorated the centennial of the Glee Club. In addition to a four-week concert tour, the group competed in the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales, one of the world's most significant choral competitions. The tour was planned so that this competition would be at the beginning, but the boat the club were travelling on was nearly a day late arriving. The club became the first American choir ever to win the male choir competition.
In 1963, a five-week tour included performances at the residence of the American Ambassador in Athens and the American Embassy in London. The club took first prize in the Llangollen Eisteddfod for a second time, winning over 20 groups from 11 different countries. In 1967, the club the University’s 150th anniversary with a world tour of 17 different nations, including the Soviet Union. The club returned to Llangollen, where they took third place in the contest. third place. In March 1969, Duey retired after 22 years of service.
The club toured Europe again in 1971 with new musical director Willis Patterson and won the Eisteddfod for a third time. This feat was repeated for a fourth time in 1978 under the direction of Leonard Johnson, marking four separate occasions when the club had won the competition. To celebrate their four victories, the Glee Club gives out four "Llangollen Awards" annually to members who embody the spirit of this competition.
Many other highlights come from the Duey years. In September 1965 the Glee Club—along with Harvard University, Smith College, and Howard University—was invited to represent the United States at the first International University Choral Festival. This event was held at Lincoln Center in New York and at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The Glee Club also made appearances on the Dinah Shore Show, the Pat Boone Show, and Ed Sullivan’s "Toast of the Town".
The Modern Era
The club performed the pre-game festivities for the final game of the 1984 World Series at Tiger Stadium, but their performance was overshadowed by scenes of violence and rioting after the game. Their tour bus was set upon by rioters, who vandalised it, while the singers fled to safety. A more favourable appearance occurred the following year when, under the direction of Patrick Gardner, the club undertook a 36-day tour across Europe, which culminated in another appearance at Llangollen, where they placed third.
Under the direction of Jerry Blackstone, the Michigan Men’s Glee Club embarked on four major overseas tours. In 1989 the Glee Club spent three weeks touring Asia with concerts in Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea. In 1992 the Club embarked on a trip to Eastern Europe, where they were one of the first American groups to visit the new country of Estonia, which had recently declared independence from the defunct Soviet Union. 1996 brought the Club to South America including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru, and the Club most recently traversed Australia in 2000. The highlight of this tour was the inaugural Men of Song Festival hosted by the Brisbane Boys' College in which 132 pupils participated in a workshop and joint concert.
Under Blackstone’s direction the Club was invited to perform at several conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, including the 1997 National Convention in San Diego. The Club also released six compact discs during this time and was featured on Mannheim Steamroller’s 2001 album Christmas Extraordinaire, with Blackstone co-credited as choir director. In the spring of 2001 the combined Men’s Glee Club and Smith College Glee Club and Chorale gave a performance of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem in Northampton, Massachusetts. The following fall the endeavor was repeated in Hill Auditorium with the Smith and Michigan Women’s Glee Clubs. Blackstone retired in 2002, with the club's CD I have had singing being a retrospective of his tenure as conductor. His time spent conducting the club has been well-received, with the secretary of the Warsaw Philharmonica stating, "I was completely enchanted. It is unbelievable that an amateur group could surpass our most professional choirs with such ease of execution."
Stephen Lusmann took over leadership until 2005; highlights of his tenure include an appearance at the IMC National Convention at Harvard University, a sixteen-day tour of Great Britain and Ireland in 2004 and the club's premiere performance at Carnegie Hall with the Smith College Glee Club in 2005.
From 2005 to 2011, the Club was under the direction of Paul Rardin. Notable achievements during this time include international tours to Spain in 2008 and Cuba in 2011. The Cuban tour was considered especially significant, given that Americans have not easily been able to travel to the country legally, but the University gave financial assistance and an offer of a cultural exchange to make the tour happen. In 2010, the club celebrated its 150th anniversary, and as part of the celebrations performed a set of joint concerts with the Harvard University and University of Virginia Glee Clubs, taking a variety of music including contemporary American songs, folk and Renaissance music. Rardin said "It’s a wonderful opportunity for all of us to see, hear and learn from three different ensembles."
Rardin left the University of Michigan after the Cuban tour to accept the position of Director of Choirs at Temple University in 2011. As of the fall term of 2011, Eugene Rogers now directs the Club. Notable achievements during his tenure include an international tour to China (2012) and the extension of the Club's Brothers in Song program, which partners with underserved young men's choral programs in public schools, to include high schools nationwide.
The club continues to collaborate with others. Tom Harle, MD of the Naperville Glee Club said "There’s a lot to be said about them. They’re one of the most prestigious and one of the oldest men’s glee clubs in the country."
List of directors
|1878||Prof. De Prosse|
|1879 - 1885||Isaac C. Goff|
|1885 - 1887||Harold B. Wilson|
|1887 – 1889||Rossetter G. Cole|
|1890 - 1892||Albert A. Stanley|
|1893||Silas R. Mills|
|1893 - 1908||No director from the music faculty was appointed at this time. Until the 1920s, directors were only in an advisory role.|
|1908 – 1911||Earle Killeen|
|1912 - 1914||William A. Howland|
|1915 - 1919||Theodore Harrison|
|1921||William B. Wheeler|
|1922 - 1923||Frank L. Thomas|
|1924||George O. Bowen|
|1925 - 1930||Theodore Harrison|
|1932 - 1947||David Mattern|
|1947 – 1955||Philip Duey|
|1956||Walter S. Collins (acting)|
|1957 - 1969||Philip Duey|
|1969 - 1975||Willis Patterson|
|1976 - 1981||Leonard Johnson|
|1982 - 1987||Patrick Gardner|
|1989 - 2002||Jerry Blackstone|
|2003 - 2005||Stephen Lusmann|
|2005 - 2011||Paul Rardin|
- Bob McGrath, singer and actor who plays "Bob" on Sesame Street.
- Ara Berberian, Metropolitan Opera Basso
- Jeff Marx, co-composer of Avenue Q.
- Thomas Dewey, three-time governor of New York and two-time Republican Presidential candidate
- Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Neurosurgeon, and CNN senior medical correspondent.
- Russell Christopher, Metropolitan Opera, Baritone.
- 1955: Europe
- 1959: Europe
- 1963: Europe
- 1967: World Tour
- 1971: Europe
- 1978: Europe
- 1985: Europe
- 1989: Southeast Asia
- 1992: Eastern & Central Europe
- 1996: South America
- 2000: Australia
- 2004: Great Britain & Ireland
- 2008: Spain
- 2011: Cuba
- 2012: China
- Michigan Remember (2010)
- Songs of Michigan 2009 Edition (2009)
- Under The Pyrenees (2009)
- Tails, Tux, and Holly (2007)
- Songs of Michigan 2005 Edition (2005)
- Echoes from the Cliffs (2005)
- I Have Had Singing (2004)
- Songs of Youth (2000)
- South America (1996)
- Dance (1995)
- Songs of Michigan (1994)
- Great Halls of Europe (1992)
- The Spirit of Michigan
- Cook, Colleen Ryckert (2012). Glee Club Style: Choosing Costumes, Makeup, Sets, and Props. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 10. ISBN 9781448868902.
- Humphrey, Edwin (1898). The Michigan Book. University of Michigan. pp. 136–139.
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- "Llangollen International Eisteddfod Male Choirs - Competition Winners". Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
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- Duey 1967, p. 5.
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- The Michigan Alumnus. 89-90. University of Michigan Libraries. 1982. p. 8.
- Ferrante & Leskiw 2003, p. 1.
- Stewart, Donald; Stewart, Patricia (1997). The Life and Legacy of Fred Newton Scott. University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 11. ISBN 9780822977230.
- Duchan 2012, p. 15.
- Ferrante & Leskew 2003, p. 2.
- Duchan 2012, p. 14.
- Duchan 2012, p. 16.
- Bluttman, Marjorie (8 November 1955). "Men's Glee Club Combines Excitement, Fun With Work". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Ferrante & Leskiw 2003, p. 2.
- Ferrante & leskiw 2003, p. 2.
- "A formal tribute to Duey". The Michigan Daily. 30 March 1969. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
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- "'U' Glee Club Will Record Musical hits". The Michigan Daily. 21 November 1947. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- "West Hartford Man Leads Glee Club Here April 5". Hartford Courant. 25 March 1956. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- Ferrante & Leskiw 2003, p. 13.
- Duchan 2012, pp. 46-47.
- "Michigan Glee Club Members". St Joseph Gazette. 17 January 1960. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- "Glee Club receives top festival honors". The Michigan Daily. 14 July 1971. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
- "Club History". University of Michigan Men's Glee Club. p. 2. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
- "The Michigan Men's Glee Club". The Michigan Daily. 25 August 1964. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- "Scholarships". University of Michigan Men's Glee Club. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
- "14 Lands to Send Choruses To City". New York Times. 4 February 1965.
- Miller, Fritz (25 September 1965). "Precision Marks Japanese Glee Club performances". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- Eichler, Ann (6 May 1958). "Glee Club Enjoys TV Work". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- "With Glee Club". Greensburg Daily Tribune. 27 February 1952. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- Guest, Larry (21 October 1984). "Scene after World Series resembled streets of Belfast". Beaver County Times. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
- "Glee Club ranked third". The Michigan Daily. 16 July 1985. p. 2. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
- Schweiger, Stephen (12 April 1989). "Men's Glee Club to tour Far East". The Michigan Daily. p. 2. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
- "Glee Club Spring Concert anticipates Cuba trip". Cuba Headlines. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
- "Jerry Blackstone". The State University of New York at Potsdam. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- "Christmas Extraordinaire - credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- The American Organist 36. American Guild of Organists. 2002. p. 60.
- "Club History: Page 3". University of Michigan Men's Glee Club (official website). Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- Freedman, Jamie (11 April 2002). "Blackstone to direct final Glee Club show". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
- "The University of Michigan's Men's Glee Club - Stephen Lusmann, director". Block M Records. 2007. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- Chou, Kimberly (23 February 2006). "Lyricists wanted to pen new 'M' song". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
- "La iglesia de los Jesuitas acoge hoy el concierto de la coral masculina de la University of Michigan" (in Spanish). La Cerca. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
- McGuire, Molly (10 March 2010). "Glee clubs convene to celebrate an ancient tradition of song". Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- "Experience Unsurpassed Professional Growth, Inspiration, Motivation, Meet New Friends and Old, in Historic San Antonio". Texas Choral Directors Association. 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- McKee, Jenn (10 November 2011). "U-M Men's Glee Club fall concert puts spotlight on new director, new work, and 10 Detroit students". The Ann Arbor News. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- "Concert of University of Michigan Men's Glee Club". Shanghai Cultural Information. 13 May 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Bell, Jordan (20 March 2013). "Brothers in Song: New Club Leadership Reflects". University of Michigan Men's Glee Club. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- Alleman, Annie (3 February 2012). "Naperville and Michigan Glee Clubs sing". Herald News (Chicago Sun-Times). Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Ferrante & Leskiw 2003, p. 12.
- Ferrante & Leskiw 2003, p. 15.
- Ferrante & Leskiw 2003, p. 12,13.
- Ferrante 1994, p. 13.
- Ferrante & Leskiw 2003, p. 14.
- Ferrante & Leskiw 2003, p. 14,15.
- "Welcome to Michigan". University of Michigan. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Newvine, Colleen. "The Case of the Nostalgic Neurosurgeon". Michigan Today. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
- Levin, Carl (26 March 2010). "Recognizing the 150th Anniversary of the University of Michigan’s Men’s Glee Club". Carl Levin (official site). Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- Duchan, Joshua (2012). Powerful Voices: The Musical and Social World of Collegiate A Cappella. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 9780472118250.
- Duey, Philip (1967). The University of Michigan Songbook. University of Michigan Libraries.
- Ferrante, Michael; Leskiw, Adrian (2003). The History of The University of Michigan Men's Glee Club. University of Michigan Men's Glee Club.