REVIEW: Women’s Glee Club Fall Concert

In my philosophy class recently, I learned about the difference between what is “beautiful” and what is “sublime.”

Imagine the compactness of a flower bed: how intricate each flower is, how symmetrical and harmonious nature can be, and how it’s hard not to smile when we see something as simply wonderful as a flower bed. This is beauty.

The sublime, on the other hand, is something grandiose that provokes emotions of grandeur and magnificence. To see something sublime is to feel slightly terrified of its power. What’s best about these definitions is that feelings of the splendid sublime are pervaded with beauty.

Saturday night at Hill Auditorium, I felt the sublime pervaded with beauty. As the members of the Women’s Glee Club walked onstage singing “Tshotsoloza,” a South African song about a train, the beauty of vocal contrasts dwelled in my ears. The acoustics in that place are near perfect, I’m sure you’ve heard, but there’s nothing better than having a musical group use that to their benefit. The layering of the vocals never ceases to astound me, especially with a unisex singing group. I’ve never understood vocal workings myself – soprano, tenor, bass, etc., so I say with great modesty that the Women’s Glee Club fused voices mellifluously.

Beyond the singing, the first half of the concert was spent reminiscing on their trip to South Africa. Pictures and videos brought life to the stories the members told, but nothing told their story better than the songs. “Voici le printemps, mon cousin,” a Belgian song sung in French that was introduced to them by the Belgian glee club, posed a stark contrast to the other tribal-sounding songs from South Africa. Even “Ngana,” an Australian song, blended more with the South African songs.

The song “Homeland” stuck out to me as both sublime and beautiful. The solos were beautiful, undoubtedly, showcasing individual voices that meld into the group. However, during crescendos, the feeling was sublime – my heart and ears swelled with the group’s voices. The piano was not cumbersome and accompanied the club perfectly. Naturally, the placement of such a climactic and emotional song fit incredibly in their song-list.

The Women’s Glee Club entirely outdid themselves on Saturday night. With the anecdotal first half of South Africa, and a second half highlighted with instruments and soloists, the club put on an utterly sublime and beautiful show.