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Irish Glee Club joins forces with West Point peers

Marty Schroeder | Friday, November 17, 2006

While the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Army Black Knights may be squaring off on the gridiron this weekend in a battle between two storied football programs, the Notre Dame Glee Club and the West Point Glee Club will be joining musical forces for a concert tonight. These two programs are full of history – the Notre Dame Glee Club has been in existence since 1915 and the West Point Glee Club since 1903. The program promises to be an excellent opportunity to see not only the Irish Glee Club, but also the Black Knight Glee Club.

Both programs will be performing separate short programs, one following the other, before uniting for a joint program which is sure to impress. The Irish Glee Club will be performing a wide variety of music including “Danny Boy,” the sea shanty ‘Tom’s Gone to Hilo” and the Notre Dame Victory March. The Glee Club has also learned the Army Fight Song for this concert, a part of the concert the Irish find particularly important. Also, the two Clubs will be performing a Renaissance liturgical hymn, Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Director Daniel Stowe has put together the music from shows performed through their fall tour. Stowe has been with the Irish Glee Club for over a decade and has been performing marvelously in this position. While completing a doctoral dissertation from Cornell University in Musicology, he has been the director of the Glee Club and the Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra.

The USMA Glee Club is directed by Randall Wallace and was featured in the film “We Were Soldiers.” The author of the book the film was based upon, Lieutenant General Hal Moore (Ret.), requested the help of the USMA Glee Club to help with the music and the request was granted. This follows the Long Gray Line’s tradition of service to country by using the group’s many talents.

The idea for this concert came from a joint concert the Irish Glee Club sang with the Naval Academy two years ago. The structure of tonight’s concert will be similar to the previous concert. The Notre Dame Glee Club thought this would be an excellent time to perform with another one of the service academy glee clubs.

The directors of the Glee Clubs are both talented figures in their field, but the student leaders, Cadet-in-Charge CDT Jim Pleuss (’07) of the USMA Glee Club and senior Nathan Catanese, the Notre Dame Glee Club president, are both thrilled by the prospects of bringing these two glee clubs together even though the two programs differ. The Black Knight Glee Club is co-ed and larger, offering a different perspective on the music they will sing than the fraternal Irish Glee Club.

The spirit of sportsmanship – a quality both of these schools are known for – has led to the Notre Dame group finding places to stay for the visiting Glee Club. The Notre Dame Glee Club members, along with members of Notre Dame Army ROTC, will be hosting the Army Glee Club members.

“I think you can attribute that to the hospitality at Notre Dame. It will be a good chance to share Notre Dame with them,” Catanese said.

Also, the Secretary of the Army, the Honorable Francis J. Harvey, will be in attendance. This would be an honor in its own right, but Harvey is also a Notre Dame graduate. This connection will provide a bridge between the two institutions aside from the music they will be singing.

This will be the perfect addition to the final home game of the season, one that Catanese feels is a great opportunity for both groups.

“This is a great opportunity because of the tradition of the two schools,” he said. “The dual traditions of collegiality from football can now spread to music as well.”

The Glee Clubs will be performing in the Leighton Concert Hall tonight at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for the general public, $6 for Notre Dame faculty and staff, $5 for senior citizens and $3 for all students. A special price of $6 will be given to any faculty, staff or alumni of the United States Military Academy.