This is the first of a few albums on this list that I actually perform on. I’ve never really been a fan of the name “Men’s Glee Club”. I prefer Men’s Choir or Men’s Chorus, it’s a bit less hokey and conveys the strength a group of trained men’s voices can attain. But, Glee Club is what it’s called, so I must deal with it.
One of the things I loved about attending a small, liberal arts college was that it gave me the opportunity to do things a pre-med major couldn’t do at a regular Division I university. For example, I played on the college basketball team for a bit (pre-season only), was a radio DJ on the Alma College radio station with my own show Saturday nights, and participated in the performing arts (classical guitar and glee club). I knew almost all my teachers. In fact, I spent a year as a teaching assistant for the Chemistry department and even gave a few of the pre-lab lectures. It was wonderful being able to have such a rich and diverse college experience.
Alma College has one of the best music programs in the state, despite being a small college. Dr. Nichols and Tony Patterson are two extremely talented guys, who have blessed the school with their passion for teaching for several decades. I went from being a rock and roll guy who could sing OK to someone who was actually pretty decent. It was thanks to their training and instruction that this transformation happened.
I get my rock and roll side from my dad, who is a drummer and played in my first few bands. But, for these CD’s it’s my mom who gets the credit. She gave me my folk and classical music influences with piano and guitar, so it is to her that these performances are dedicated.
In His Care
I was late to the game with joining glee club. My friends Marcus and Joe encouraged me to join after hearing me play guitar and sing at several open mics. Before that I didn’t think it was “cool” to be in choir, but it really was. We had a great time and fellas there’s nothing sexier to a lady than a guy in a tux, which is what we wore on stage. Lesson learned.
The one song that stands out to me on this CD is Loch Lomond. Alma, MI is known as Scotland, USA. They have their own tartan and have a bagpiper at every school event. Every year at graduation, the Alma College choir sings this song for the commencement ceremonies. The seniors in the choir sing the song with them in their caps and gowns before sitting in the audience. It is the senior’s final performance with the choir before they walk off into the crowd. I cry every time I hear this song, it brings back so many emotions and feelings from that time. Most of all, I just miss the friends and good times we had there.
NOTE: I put these videos together while watching the hockey game a few nights ago, so don’t be too hard on them 🙂 You can’t just find these songs on youtube, you need to post them yourself.
Shenendoah is another song performed by the combined choirs. I love this song, there’s so much longing and reflection. Perfect for looking back on your college days.
Beneath a Star
I prefer this CD to the previous one, but not because I’m on it more. The reason is the song selection. I felt that this year (1996-97) the songs were stronger for the men and more pretty and complex for the women. The upbeat songs have more swing and don’t feel forced, the slow songs had more going on beneath the surface.
“Nu ar det Jul igen” is my favorite song off this album and it’s sung by the girls. It’s a Danish Christmas song and is very pretty with a nice, upbeat rhythm.
The lyrics are “Yuletide is here again, O Yuletide is here again, We’ll dance and celebrate ’til Easter. Then when it’s Eastertime we’ll dance and celebrate til Yuletide.” Gotta love their positive attitude.
And finally, the grand finale, Do You Hear What I Hear? Like the last song, it was from our Christmas concert, which was our biggest every year. There’s just something special about the holidays. This song has been done by almost every choir, but I like our version. The Heritage Center acoustics are interesting because it’s a medium sized theater, but it feels smaller, like you’re right there in front of the performers. You can hear that on the recording.
Thanks for coming with me on my walk down memory lane. In my next post, I will be switching gears and covering the works of Tori Amos. Until then, hope you have a great week.