2014 Southern Tour
After surviving a semester of frigid Cornell weather, there are few things Glee Clubbers look forward to more than a tour down south. While planning the tour, following a polar vortex down to Dixieland was not what the club had in mind. Nevertheless, we managed to keep warm in the sub-zero Kentucky weather with music, great friends, and plenty of Kentucky bourbon.
The 2014 American South Tour included stops in major cities such as Nashville and Memphis TN, Atlanta GA, and New Orleans LA. This two week tour featured music on the theme of ‘Love and Loss.’ One of the major highlights was performing Toby Twining's Lincoln the Musician, this year's piece celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.
For many of the Glee Clubbers, the most memorable part of the tour was visiting the storied battlefield in Gettysburg, PA to see first-hand the “hallowed ground” we had been singing about. We were delighted to perform once again with the Morehouse College Glee Club in Atlanta, GA and also enjoyed collaborating with the Penn State Glee Club and the Men’s Chorale of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Many thanks to all of the supportive alumni and friends of the Cornell choirs who helped make this tour such a success!
2013 Southeast Tour
In January 2013, the Glee Club took a much-needed break from the infamous Ithaca
winter and went on a driving tour down the American east coast to Florida, and
back. Under the baton of Interim director, John Rowehl, the Club performed in
Charlottesville, Sarasota, Tampa, Miami, and Richmond to name just a few of the
memorable stops along the way.
In Charlottesville, the Club had the pleasure of collaborating with the University of
Virginia University Singers. Directed by Michael Slon GC ’92, the two groups put on
a joint concert at the University Baptist Church. Slon was not the only notable Cornell
alumnus; William Hodges ’52 joined the ranks of the Club during Cornell Songs to sing a
rousing first verse of the Alumni Song.
Several days later in Sarasota, the Club encountered more Cornell connections, first by
singing at a Cornell Club luncheon attended by President Emeritus Frank H. T. Rhodes,
then by performing for a full house including many alumni at the St. Boniface Episcopal
The Glee Club would like to recognize its donors and supporters who helped to make
this tour possible, in addition to the hard work put in by members of the regional Cornell
Clubs and the undying hospitality of everyone who came out to a concert or hosted a
Glee Clubber along the way.
2012 Wales Tour
Although Cornell generally allows its students a brief respite from work during the summer months, the Glee Club kept up the momentum this year with a much-anticipated July tour to the United Kingdom and the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales.
The club converged on the Grace Church School in downtown Manhattan in the evening of June 29th, and after the typical post-break reunion, we dove into intense rehearsals in preparation for our Saturday night “send-off” concert in NYC, as well as our UK tour concerts and of course, the competition.
The tour was organized into two segments, with our trip to the Eisteddfod straddling them. Our rationale for this was that some students might not be able to attend the full two-week tour due to job or internship commitments. In order to allow them that freedom and to maintain our full sound, we invited alumni to join us for the second week. The first portion of the trip included a stop in London, catering to our overseas alumni. We then swept along the coast; first down to Torquay, where we had a local connection, and then up to the seaside town of Llandudno in North Wales. Twenty alumni joined us in Wales for the competition, and on the evening of July 7th, we hopped aboard our double-decker bus bound for Scotland, where we put on concerts in Glasgow, Aberlour, and Edinburgh, and sampled just a hint of whisky. We rounded out the trip with Scott Tucker’s final performance with the club at an intimate church in central York, before continuing back to London to fly back to New York City.
The competition itself was the experience of a lifetime. Our challengers were musicians from across the globe, singing everything from traditional choral music, to barbershop, to folk music. We competed in the Male Choir category, and we performed a three song set, starting with the classic American spiritual “Ain’t a That Good News,” followed by Lee Hoiby’s “Last Letter Home,” which flowed straight into the Franz Beibl “Ave Maria.”
In the early evening, we returned to the main pavilion for evaluation, and waited on tenterhooks for our score. All the choirs before us received totals in the 80’s (out of 100), and a hush fell over the crowd as the judges presented us with a score of 93. Even though the German choir which followed us, Delica Ton, received a slightly higher point value and ended up winning the entire competition in the final round, our 2nd place victory was a proud moment for all of us. Besides the competition, we were also provided many memorable opportunities to interact with community members and try local products. For some, it was the night in Aberlour where we were received by local musicians and samples of the region’s shortbread and whisky; for others, it was the night in Devon where they stayed up talking to our British hosts. While walking the streets of Edinburgh or hiking the hills around Aberlour, everyone got a taste of the scenery and the culture that left us wanting more.
An international tour is a massive undertaking for all involved, but we had a fantastic time on our trip through United Kingdom, and definitely one unavailable to the average American tourist. Our talent and love of music were evident in our performances, and each man was grateful for the opportunity to strengthen his friendships with students and alumni alike.
2012 Midwest Tour
The drives may have been long and flat, but the Glee Club’s January 2012 tour of the Midwest was far from boring. Driving over 2000 miles on the right foot of our faithful bus driver, Dave, the Club toured ten cities in eleven days, singing to thousands of people, sharing the stage with two fine collegiate men’s choirs, and premiering one new work, Shulamit Ran’s Sonnet 73, in a Chicago performance attended by the composer. Our tour began on Thursday in Rochester, the hometown to our president-elect Patrick Chamberlain ‘13 and our Webmaster and former Sales Manager Parker Moore ‘14, to a large crowd at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
The next day we were off to Cleveland, a brief performance and tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and then a ride to Akron, Ohio for a packed crowd at Trinity Cathedral, the home parish of Jon Kienzle ’12 and his mother’s music ministry. The day after proved to be a test of stamina with a third early morning in a row, but the men of the Club persevered through punctuality and made it into Chicago right on time for a workshop with Shulamit Ran. With the help the alumni team of John Nicolls ‘72, Steve Whitney ‘79, and Dave Houggy ’89, the Club was able to give another solid performance at St. James Cathedral in the heart of the city. After a rousing reception, the group retired to their homestays for the evening, ready to enjoy a free day on Sunday complete with deep-dish pizza at Gino’s East and a luxurious stay at the Intercontinental Hotel. The tour continued on Monday in Des Moines with a hospitable concert and stay organized by the friends and congregation of Bob Goldhammer ’73.
Tuesday morning, we pushed on through the plains to Kansas City, Missouri, hometown of Mitchell Davis ‘12, to sing at the acoustically beautiful Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral and enjoy a delicious barbecue dinner. After Kansas City, we moved to the other side of the state and performed at the Community Music School of Webster University in St. Louis, but not before horsing around for hours at the City Museum!
When we awoke on Thursday morning at the homes of our hosts, we found a thin but pernicious layer of snow on the ground, which consequently delayed our departure from St. Louis to Purdue University by approximately two hours. Still, we met up with the impressively disciplined Purdue Varsity Glee Club with plenty of time to share a meal and prepare for another well-attended concert at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in West Lafayette. On Friday, we went north to the University of Michigan, and performed another fine concert with the help of a Cornell and Michigan Glee Club alumnus, Jon Wardner ’79 put on a wildly successful concert followed by a successfully wild after-party. On Saturday, the group crossed the border to Canada for an intimate performance for the Church of the Ascension in Toronto. We enjoyed a lavish stay at the Park Hyatt in the center of the city, and leisurely drove to Buffalo the next day for our final concert of the tour at St. Louis Church.
Our tour was successful in all areas: we performed at a high level and built camaraderie among the membership of the Club. We owe our success to the tremendous sacrifices and hard work of our membership, and to the leadership of our conductors, Scott Tucker and John Rowehl. However, it would not have been possible without the strong support of all the individuals who attended the concerts and gave generously of their time and resources. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Midwest, and we, on behalf of the entire group, sincerely thank you for your support.
2011 California Tour
In January of 2011, the Glee Club toured the State of California, including cities such as Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego, Palm Desert, and Los Angeles. The Glee Club performed at a wide range of venues including The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall, and Stanford’s Memorial Church. The Glee Club will also be featured in the Desert Friends of Music Concert Series and will be presented in concert by the Pasadena Master Chorale.
For the California Tour, the Glee Club was also joined by Director Emeritus, Professor Thomas A. Sokol. As director of the group for 38 years, Professor Sokol is widely regarded as the man who brought the Cornell University Glee Club to its prominence as a premier men’s choir. In addition to conducting a few pieces, Professor Sokol led several pre-concert “chats” at San Francisco, Palm Desert, and UCLA concerts.
Additionally, one of the memorable experiences was the master class the Club had with Chanticleer, a world-renowned professional men's choir. The class finished with both choirs performing Biebl's Ave Maria, a popular men's piece and Glee Club staple originally brought to the United States by Cornell's very own Professor Sokol.
Highlights of the repertoire included pieces by Cornell-California composers Byron Adams DMA ’84 and Joseph Gregorio ’01. The tour also featured premieres of two new works by Glee Club Alums. UCLA Professor David Lefkowitz ’86’87 and David Conte DMA ’83 have each written a new work for the Glee Club.
The Glee Club would like to extend gratitude to its California alumni tour committee, which worked tirelessly to create concert opportunities, lead sponsorship campaigns, recruit homestays, and set-up tour stops for the Club. We would additionally like to thank everyone that supported us either by housing gentlemen, donating to the tour, or coming to one of our concerts!
2010 Northeast Tour
During January of 2010, the Glee Club toured the Northeast, with stops including Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. in January 2010. In place of Professor Scott Tucker who was away on sabbatical, the Club was directed by Assistant Conductor John Rowehl.
Stand-out performances in D.C. include a sold-out performance at the Kennedy Center, and a matinee for Justices Ginsburg '54, Alito, and Sotomayor at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Club also sang at high schools in Bethesda and Baltimore, MD. Other memorable performances include Boston's Old South Church, and a joint concert with the University Glee Club at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Theater in New York, NY.
The Glee Club would like to thank it's alumni tour committee for all of their work in setting up performances at premier venues, soliciting sponsorships, enlisting homestays, and for creating other interesting adventures along the way! Again, we would additionally like to thank everyone that supported us either by housing gentlemen, donating to the tour, or coming to one of our concerts!
2009 Southern Tour
Over winter break, the Glee Club ventured on it's Deep South Tour, or as fondly known by Clubbers, "the Tour of Northern Aggression." The Club first stopped in Cleveland, OH, and continued on a bus to Nashville and Memphis, TN, Dallas, Austin, and Houston, TX, New Orleans, LA, Atlanta, GA, and finally, back to Ithaca, NY.
We would like to thank all alumni, fans, and supporters who through their donations, hospitality, and presence at concerts helped us along the way!
2008 China Tour
Over spring break 2008, the Glee Club embarked upon a joint tour to the People's Republic of China with the Cornell University Chorus. From March 11-26, the groups toured and sang in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, performing three concerts of Johannes Brahms' "Ein Deutsches Requiem."
Given that the work calls for more than 100 voices and a large orchestra, joint concerts were staged with the Hong Kong Bach Choir and Orchestra, the Shanghai International Festival Chorus, and the International Festival Chorus and Orchestra.
Stand-out venues include Beijing's Forbidden City Concert Hall, Shanghai's Oriental Arts Center, Fudan University, and St. John's Cathedral in Hong Kong, among others; while students were not busy singing, they had the opportunity to tour landmarks like the Great Wall.
This tour was a multi-year project, and we would like to thank all of the donors and supporters who made this wonderful, memorable, and life-changing experience possible.
Other Tours Include:
2007 Southeast Tour
2006 Northeast Tour
2005 California Tour
2004 Brazil Tour
2003 Midwest Tour
2002 Southeast Tour
2001 Venezuela Tour
2000 East Coast Tour
1999 West Coast Tour