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Glee Club welcomes alumni members, maintains community at reunion concert

| Monday, September 20, 2021

Doug A

“We will never again take for granted the opportunity to perform in front of a crowd,” said Daniel Stowe, director of the Notre Dame Glee Club (NDGC).

On Sept. 17, the NDGC performed at the much anticipated Triennial Reunion Concert, which took place at DPAC. The event brought 170 to 200 Notre Dame alumni back to perform with the current student members. The Glee Club concert occurred as the NDGC celebrates its 106th anniversary, but some things — like the community — will stay the same. According to Pat Ostrander, class of ’84, the Glee Club is still the same fellowship it has always been. The community of the Glee Club, members suggest, is the type that keeps you coming back, and the friends you make are the ones who will be in your wedding.

The moment that best highlighted that shared sense of community was the Ave Maria. The Ave Maria had the alumni in the audience standing up and singing from the balcony. In addition to being a beautiful song, it was the favorite performance of Ostrander — who found the club’s rendition both incredible and moving — and Matthew Pond, a junior at Notre Dame. In addition to the “Ave Maria,” Glee Club classics of “Passing By,” “The Halls of Ivy” and “The Long Day Closes” were performed as well.

The event concluded with the Notre Dame “Victory March,” also known as the best fight song in America! Although we’ve all seen the YouTube videos of the Glee Club performing the Fight Song, being there elevates the feeling somehow; this feeling of community is something that epitomizes the Notre Dame we love, as well as the school’s rich history. According to Ostrander, even though the musicians of today are better, the community remains the same. And at the triannual reunions, Ostrander is reminded of what he felt as both a Glee Club member and as the club’s eventual president.

Ostrander recalls his experience running for president, saying that “[he] wanted to give something back, kind of a ‘pay it forward.’” The concept of “paying it forward” came from the upperclassmen in the Glee Club. According to Pond, the Glee Club upperclassmen are people you learn to trust and rely on, especially given the way the club operates. Before each Glee Club performance, there is practice almost every day, but in the Glee Club, you learn as you go, meaning that underclassmen often turn to seniors for help. “The learning curve is tough,” Pond said, but “once you get it, you get it.” Part of what contributes to this learning curve is the way that the Glee Club tends to sight reads their pieces, forcing members to “figure it out” as they go.

But being a part of the Glee Club is worth it. When Pond found out he had been accepted, it felt very special to him, and he considered it a valuable opportunity to build community as a Gateway student. Pond wanted a way to ensure he had a good group of people to hang out with once he got to Notre Dame, and joining the Glee Club carried the added bonus of validating his abilities. Although the members of the Glee Club all love music and the community, the group has a diverse amount of majors, most of which aren’t actually related to music. For those who don’t get any music education in class, the Glee Club provides the opportunity to have a relationship with the art form. The bottom line? Whether students like listening to music or performing it, the Notre Dame Glee club has something for everyone to enjoy.

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