While on tour in July of 1978, the Harvard Glee Club performed a concert in Jacoby Auditorium on the campus of Umpqua Community College (UCC) in Roseburg, Oregon.
On October 1, 2015, a tragic shooting on that same campus resulted in ten lives lost and countless lives forever changed.
Following nation-wide news of the shooting, members of the ’78 Summer Tour gathered via email to share their memories of the tour and the Roseburg concert in particular. Those shared memories soon evolved into a sincere desire to reach out to the UCC/Roseburg community with a show of support and solidarity.
In less than a week’s time, members and friends of the ’78 Tour raised sufficient funding to underwrite a memorial concert on the UCC campus. Gifts were aggregated through the Harvard Glee Club Foundation which also contributed to the sponsorship.
In the end, members of the HGC ’78 Summer Tour and the Harvard Glee Club Foundation were able to award a $10,525 grant to the UCC Fine and Performing Arts Department to sponsor “The UCC Memorial Concert: An Evening of Healing and Hope” on October 23rd.
After the concert, Dr. Jason Heald, Director of Music at Umpqua Community College, reported:
The impact of Friday’s concert has been immeasurable. All weekend, in places as diverse as church and the supermarket, I was greeted by tearful people expressing their overwhelming emotions about the performance.
Dr. Heald also confirmed that the concert represented a number of milestones for the college:
- It was the largest combined community choir in the region going back at least 20 years;
- The concert featured the first combined community men’s chorus at UCC in the past 20 years, an homage to the men of the HGC ’78 Summer Tour;
- Two brand new choral works by Dr. Heald–“O Vos Omnes” for men’s voices and “Threads of Love” for mixed voices–were premiered at the concert;
- It was the debut of a recent UCC acquisition, a Baroque portative organ, used to accompany portions of Handel’s Messiah.
Perhaps most important, though, was the impact on the community as reflected in several emails Dr. Heald received from performers and audience members alike in response to the concert:
A beautiful concert honoring all who died at Umpqua Community College… and to those who have a tough road ahead. Bravi Jason Heald and to all who made UCC/Roseburg shine.
Thank you so much for creating this remarkable experience for us all!
It was a great evening. I truly felt blessed to be in the company of Douglas County’s heart and soul–musicians who care deeply for our county and sing and play with such passion and beauty. Thank you Donna and Jason for entrusting us to present this gift to our community. Love to all of you!
We all ache for the families and friends of the victims and for all those who were traumatized that horrible morning three weeks ago. That is why Friday evening’s concert was so important. It was truly a balm for the soul. The many who participated prove that our community is strong, and by giving their gifts of time and talent, the musicians not only moved towards healing themselves, but also no doubt helped everyone who attended heal as well. You are especially to be commended for putting this concert together in such a short time-frame. Your two compositions in tribute to the victims and their families were beautiful. I was especially touched by “Threads of Love”…
I just got home from the concert and it was a beautiful tribute to the victims and also such a blessing for the community… What a lovely way to honor the victims. Thank you for the whole evening.
I want to thank you for a special evening shared with my daughters. I don’t know if they realize the impact of recent events on their community and their mother. It opened their eyes and hearts to others who are grieving or celebrating life, or any of the spectra in between. I appreciate how music heals and am very grateful to experience it with so many I love and care about at UCC and beyond. Well done.
This spontaneous show of empathy from the members of the HGC ’78 Summer Tour is a testament to the caliber of men who have sung and continue to sing in the ranks of the Harvard Glee Club and is a wonderful way to live out the mission of the Harvard Glee Club Foundation in promoting “excellence through choral singing at Harvard and beyond.”
Thanks to HGCF Board member Adam Finkel for providing these edited clips from the concert in which UCC’s Dr. Jason Heald thanks the HGC ’78 Summer Tour members and the Harvard Glee Club Foundation for their support during the challenging days following the tragedy.