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Glee Club, Symphony Orchestra collaborate for Picnic and Pops Concert

| Friday, October 2, 2020

Students are invited to bring blankets to the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Irish Green for free burritos and live music as the Notre Dame Glee Club (NDGC) and Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra (NDSO) team up for a Saturday afternoon “Picnic and Pops Concert.” 

Courtesy of Lauren Bakke

The Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra gathers outdoors to rehearse for their upcoming performance in collaboration with the Notre Dame Glee Club. They are bouncing off the heat of last week’s Music Festival.

The NDSO will kick off the performance at 2:15 p.m. with a repertoire of music, joined by NDGC at 3 p.m. Led by Daniel Stowe, the Director of both the Glee Club and Symphony Orchestra, the two groups have been practicing pieces that provide a change of pace from their usual collaborations.  

“It’s kind of a lighter collection of pieces than we sometimes do at our formal concerts,” Stowe said. “With the Glee Club, we’re doing a mix of folk songs, spirituals and kind of Americana and Notre Dame songs.”

After months of uncertainty surrounding the state of the performing arts amid the pandemic, the musicians and singers are ecstatic to share their talents with the campus community in a safe environment, senior NDGC president Philip Lally said. He hopes to bring the energy from last week’s music festival into this weekend. 

“Both groups did the Notre Dame Music Festival last week as well,” Lally said. “Bouncing off that, we’re excited to do a more expanded set in a performance that’s focused on just the two groups.”

Rehearsals and performances have been operating under strict guidelines to protect the health and safety of the community. A large tent on the DPAC terrace, marked with social distancing reminders, is serving as the rehearsal area and stage for this weekend’s concert. 

Cold weather will pose a new challenge to performing during the pandemic, as it becomes more difficult to spend rehearsal times outdoors. Even as temperatures drop, spirits are high amongst the members of NDGC and NDSO. 

“The guys in our group were just so happy to be able to rehearse under the circumstances of COVID because during the summer, we had no idea if the group would even be able to meet,” Lally said. “Even if things are cold, I think guys will be happy to try to stick it out just because we love singing and we love what we do.” 

The NDSO, led by senior co-president Victoria Whitmore, shares this sentiment.

“We’ve been able to play together before, usually Christmas music, so this will be a little bit different,” Whitmore said. “We’re just happy to be able to perform together and enjoy music.” 

There is no shortage of enthusiasm among the NDGC and NDSO leading into the Picnic and Pops Concert. While campus activities look much different this semester, the groups are proud to be providing a setting for students to continue to take in the arts. 

“It’s a chance to hear some great music performed by some of Notre Dame’s most talented students in a safe environment where you can reconnect with old friends and make new ones,” Stowe said. 

While some beloved traditions are looking much different this year, the semester’s timeline has not slowed down preparations for the NDGC and NDSO’s Christmas performances. They are looking to contribute their talents to this weekend’s fall festivities but will be shifting gears to virtually spread holiday cheer.

“We know that the University community is kind of starved for events, and we’re thrilled to be able to provide that for them,” Stowe said. “We’re going to learn some Christmas music and probably make videos before the end of the term, and then we’ll release them around holiday time.”

With a fall weekend ahead, Lally hopes that the concert will bring relief and joy to the campus community. 

“We hope that it’s a reminder that this too will pass, in terms of the pandemic,” he said. “We’ll do our best to make sure people can enjoy music in a semester when they haven’t really gotten that many opportunities to do so.”

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