After a year online, the University of Michigan Women’s Glee Club (WGC) is excited to present “Together” live and in person!
While I took a hiatus from Glee Club during the ’20-’21 school year, I feel like I never left. It’s been wonderful to not only sing again but also connect with a genuinely great group of people. All the work we’ve done this semester culminates in a concert at Hill Auditorium, which just so happens to be tonight. Why should you come? I sat down with some of the executive board members to hear their thoughts about the club and tonight’s concert.
“It’s fun being able to make decisions and attend to the interests of a large group while also just getting to hang out with my friends,” senior Daniela Martinez said. Martinez is the organization’s president, which means she presides over general WGC business and executive board meetings. She also acts as the official representative of the Women’s Glee Club, works closely with Dr. Skadsem, the music director, and ensures that officers are performing their duties.
Vice President Fiona Lynch said her favorite part of the executive board position is getting to give back to the club that has been a special part of her college experience. “This is our first solo in-person concert in two years,” Lynch said. “We are all back together again in person and we wanted to capture the importance of that in our concert theme.”
The theme, “Together,” reflects the club’s excitement to be back together and singing in person. Andrea Ramsey’s arrangement of “Crowded Table” calls for people to band together while J. David Moore’s arrangement of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” is a song of hope and perseverance. These themes of finding strength and life in the face of adversity continue to be important throughout the continuation and aftermath of the pandemic.
Regarding the repertoire for tonight’s concert, Martinez believes that there is something for everyone to enjoy. “It’s entertaining in the sense that the pieces are cohesive but not to the point where it’s the same number again and again.”
While the first half of the concert features more serious pieces, it takes an upbeat turn for the second half.
“I just think it’s a really well rounded choral production which is not something you always get. And then the second half is really fun with songs like ‘Vichten’ and Blues so I just think it’s a really fun combination of our semester.”
By “Blues” pieces, Martinez is referring to the traditional U of M songs that the Women’s Glee Club often sings at fundraisers, football tailgates, and other events. These songs are personal favorites of mine, including “Laudes Atque Carmina,” “The University,” and of course, “Varsity and The Victors.”
Lynch’s favorite song, on the other hand, is Gwyneth Walker’s “I Thank You God.” The song of praise features text from a poem by E. E. Cummings and holds special meaning to many returning Glee Club members. “We get to sing it with our GSI from 2019, Maggie Burk, who was supposed to conduct it with us before COVID-19,” Lynch said. “She’s coming back as a guest conductor and it feels very full circle. It feels cathartic and kind of healing.”
Along with Maggie Burk, Julia Morris and head conductor Dr. Julie Skadsem will lead the choir. As president, Martinez will conduct the choir in singing U of M’s alma mater, “Yellow and Blue.”
Lynch’s friend, senior Samuel Winter, is a frequent audience member at WGC concerts. Winter said, “I’ve been going to glee concerts since my freshman year, and I’ve been enjoying how even though it’s largely a group of non-music majors, the quality of the performance is always spectacular.”