The season finale for the 2008-2009 SOPAA Performing Arts Series came in the shape of 81 young men of The Ohio State University Men’s Glee Club on Tuesday, May 5, 2009 in SSU’s Vern Riffe Center for the Arts main theater. And a grander finale you couldn’t have asked for.
The OSU Men’s Glee Club has a fine tradition dating back to 1875, but there was nothing staid about this performance. A rousing processional of almost Gregorian chant sound was actually a contemporary piece authored by graduate candidate and Glee Club member Tim Sarsany, The voices of these 81 young men swirled and soared until the entire theater space seemed engulfed in this beautiful and haunting sound.
The program is called a “mixed program” in that there were a mix of traditional choral pieces, classical choral pieces and a couple of arrangements of pop tunes done in their own special style. The program also differed at times from the printed program lending the concert a spontaneous relaxed feel.
Two stand-out moments in the evening of grand moments came in the duet of two gentlemen singing from the Broadway musical “Les Miserables,” the “Confrontation” between the hero and antagonist of the play. It was in essence the vocal battle between the tenor (the hero-Andrew Gartner) and baritone (the villain-Calvin Griffin). Within the context of the musical this is a pivotal moment. In terms of this performance it was spine-tingling.
The other moment when goose flesh crawled up my arm was in the second half and the full Glee Club rendition of “How Can I Keep From Singing” with special mention of Jennifer Ferguson on the oboe. To hear all of those voices in perfect harmony rise through the rafters (if the VRCFA had rafters) was mesmerizing. Of all the songs sung in the evening, THIS was the one to fully take advantage of ALL those amazing voices of this amazing group of talented young men.
Special mention should be made that former Glee Club member and Scioto County resident, Judge James Kirsch was invited at the end of the program on stage to perform the rousing Buckeye Medley with the Glee Club. As Glee Club conductor Dr. Robert J. Ward announced, “Once a Glee Club member, always a member.” Dr. Ward also pointed out that 85 percent of the Glee Club is made up of non-music majors and go through a rigorous audition to compete for a place in the Glee Club simply for the pure pleasure of singing.
And pure pleasure describes the closing act of the 2008-2009 SOPAA season. Be watchful for announcements of the 2009-2010 season.
The concert by The Ohio State University Glee Club at Shawnee State University was made possible by the sponsorship of USEC, Anna Margaret Stillwell, as well as by gifts made to the Shawnee State University Development Foundation and Southern Ohio Performing Arts Association