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Glee Club features alumni in reunion concert

| Thursday, September 13, 2018

Senior Brian Raab, president of Glee Club, said joining the Glee Club became the cornerstone of his college life.

“Without Glee Club, I don’t even know what my college experience would have been like,” he said.

This weekend, club alumni of all ages have a chance to relive that experience. Over 200 Glee Club alumni will be visiting Notre Dame’s campus this Friday to join in the Glee Club Reunion Concert under director Daniel Stowe. The concert will be in Leighton Concert Hall at 8 p.m. and is celebrating the club’s 103rd year. Tickets can be purchased at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center website.

Brian Raab

Glee Club director Daniel Stowe conducts the group in a rehearsal.

Glee Club is a selective 75-person men’s chorus, Raab said. The group rehearses four days a week and has two regular-season performances per semester, he said. He said it also performs before home games during the football season.

Though it is only a few weeks into the season, Raab said he is confident the new Glee Club “rookies” will perform well.

“They’ll be surrounded by guys who know their part,” he said. “They sit between two Glee Club guys who know what they’re doing.”

Recent alumnus Christianos Burlotos, who graduated in 2018, said he would tell new members to “embrace the community of [Glee Club].” He said he believes it is one of the tightest communities at Notre Dame and new members should appreciate that.

Junior Tim Jacklich, another member of Glee Club, said the club is a big time commitment, but also a wonderful opportunity.

“Buy into the club,” he said.

Raab said some of the alumni traveling in for the weekend graduated as early as the 1960s.

Sophomore Zach Pearson, also in Glee Club, said he has been busy preparing for several months in his role as the 2018 reunion commissioner.

“It started fairly relaxed, and then things obviously picked up,” he said.

Current Glee Club members will open the concert, then be joined by alumni for the second part of the performance, Jacklich said. Burlotos said the alumni have very little time to prepare for the event.

“You come back, they throw you a binder and after an hour-and-a-half rehearsal you have a concert,” he said.

Jacklich said there are a number of pieces Glee Club has been singing for decades.

“The cool thing for all of us current clubers is getting to see which pieces are really well-known in the club,” he said.

Burlotos said some retired pieces the club has performed in the past will be featured in Friday’s concert.

“Some of the classics we’re singing, I’ve never even sang,” he said.

The concert will also feature some current Glee members’ favorites. Raab said his favorite piece out of the concert’s selection is “The Water is Wide,” arranged by Glee Club alumnus Patrick Dupre Quigley.

“I’m a sucker for ballads,” Raab said.

Pearson said the Glee Club alumnus singing the solo for the concert gave its premiere performance in the early 2000s.

For Glee Club alumni returning to campus, Burlotos said, their experience will be far different from other alumni simply returning for a football game.

“The community will continue to last in that way,” he said.

Pearson said singing the Alma Mater and Victory March on his first day in the club is one of his favorite memories.

“It was my dream to join the Glee Club since when I first wanted to apply to Notre Dame,” he said.

Looking ahead towards his own graduation, Jacklich said he will never forget his time in Glee Club.

“It’ll certainly be a hard goodbye, but I’m taking a lot with me,” he said.

Burlotos said he is sure that although the club will change with time, it will never stray far from its roots.

“There are always those few songs we come back to,” he said.

Pearson said he also believes the club will keep many of its traditions and repertoire for years to come.

“I don’t think it’ll change that much at all,” he said. “We’re over 100 years old. The stuff that’s really good has stuck, and it’s not going to go anywhere.”

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