The University of Michigan Men's Glee Club was the headliner. Cal Poly's Polyphonics and Menso Forte barbershop quartet opened. I was delighted to hear, for the second time this year, Eric Whitacre's Five Hebrew Love Songs (sung both times by Polyphonics). This reminded me that the last time I tried to get to his web site it wasn't working. I wanted to order at least one CD from there. I'll make more of an effort now. Those songs are heavenly. What a fabulous young composer.
Whitacre went to UNLV, entered school as a rock musician, thought he'd try out for the choir. He was accepted, he fell in love with choral music, discovered a talent for composition, went on to get his doctorate at Julliard, and now, in his thirties still, he's gaining recognition worldwide for his choral and wind ensemble compositions.
That was not all, of course, that was wonderful, strange, funny, about this concert.
The Men's Glee Club is wonderful, goes without saying. It's also hugely full of school spirit of a kind I have never seen in the schools I attended. It almost made me homesick for Michigan to see these cheerful young men singing prayers to their alma mater, singing silly songs to "those ypsilanti girls", ending with "The Yellow and the Blue", a song sung by this group at the end of every concert for over 100 years. Somehow the thought of just how long this group has been in existence is daunting. And it is just one of 11 or more choral groups in that school. The school songs were just a small part of the program, of course. The rest included everything from American spirituals to a cappella Hebrew prayers.
A breakout group, the Friars, is an octet that does the truly silly stuff, including a Jackson 5 tune tonight, accompanied by full 70s dance moves.
The only sad part is that not enough people heard this music. I hope the group comes back, builds a following here.
Getting there. I parked on the street outside Cal Poly and walked in. It isn't all that far, it's what I do for rehearsals Monday nights. But because I had hiked this afternoon, my left leg was not much going for it. On the way back to my car I had to slow down, talk myself into not feeling it for a bit, go on, limp to the car, fall into it. Damn. How nice it would be to be able to walk as far as I want without pain. And to run! Maybe, could happen, some day.