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Glee Club spring concert blends modern, traditional

Molly Griffin | Monday, March 27, 2006

After their successful concert tour of California over Spring Break the Glee Club performed their annual spring concert on Friday at the Leighton Concert Hall.

The show opened with two African-inspired songs, “Welcome Song” and “Beautiful Rain,” which provided an up-tempo opening to the show and showcased the vocal abilities of the Glee Club well.

The performance balanced classical pieces with more contemporary numbers, and the songs tended to emerge in groups centered around a common musical theme. The songs crossed lines of language, style and arrangement, and allowed the diverse musical talent of the Glee Club, which included proficiency on musical instruments for some performers along with vocal ability, to shine.

The show contained a number of somewhat more somber religious pieces. This group of songs began with the powerful “Dirge from Cymbeline,” which featured a trumpet solo from Steve Feutz. From there the group moved on to Rachmaninoff’s “Slava v vishnih Bogu” and the stirring “Absalon fili mi.” The Gregorian chant “Alma redemptoris mater” finished out this section of the performance.

A selection of Mozart’s Masonic choruses made up another section of the performance. A small symphony made up of club members performed during these pieces, which added some musical diversity to the evening and highlighted the soaring nature of these pieces. “Ave Maria,” a Glee Club standard, ended the first half of the evening’s performance.

Interspersed throughout the performance were songs performed by small groups, which provided some musical diversity – as well as humor – to the evening. The small group called the Wookies chose a more contemporary piece and sang Huey Lewis and the News’ “It’s Alright.” Later in the evening another group, the Axis of Octave, chose the classic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The final small group, the Undertones, performed the Matchbox 20 hit “3 a.m.”

A group of spirituals opened the second half of the show. The beautiful “Little Innocent Lamb” and the joyous “Ye Ke Omo Mi” engaged the audience and immediately brought them back to the show after intermission. One of the highlights of the whole evening was the following songs, “Marry a Woman Uglier Than You,” which added some humor to the show while still being vocally well-executed.

The next section of the show featured a selection of Celtic songs, beginning with the slow and beautiful “She Moved Through the Fair.” The next song was the gorgeous Gaelic song “Dulaman,” which was followed by another Glee Club standard “Loch Lomand.” The final Celtic song of the evening was the boisterous “Bonnie Hielan’ Laddie,” which was arranged by current Glee Club member Tom Schreck.

The biggest crowd-pleasers of the evening were, naturally, the final songs of the night. A selection of songs from the musical “The Music Man,” which included “Trouble,” “Lida Rose” and “76 Trombones,” were one of the evening’s highlights. “Trouble” allowed the group to showcase their humor skills once again, which provided some contrast to the love song “Lida Rose.” The final selection from the set, “76 Trombones” was a hugely entertaining song and revealed the unique barbershop spin that the group gave to songs from a musical.

Finally, the show moved towards its finish with the classic Irish tune “Danny Boy.” The Glee Club finished with the three Notre Dame songs that close all of their shows – the Glee Club alma mater “Notre Dame, We Hail Thee,” the University’s alma mater “Notre Dame, Our Mother” and the University’s fight song “The Notre Dame Victory March.”

The Glee Club’s spring concert provided a great blend of music that showcased the group’s skills effectively. The appropriate mix of slow songs with up-tempo ones and traditional music with more contemporary pieces made it an enjoyable performance for any and all audience members.