Thursday, January 2nd: Escape from the East
The beginning of the Harvard Glee Club’s 2014 Winter Tour proved that air travel and winter weather can threaten even the best laid plans. With a classic Nor’ Easter forming over Boston and expected to be at its worst on the Friday morning when many Gleeks were planning on departing from Logan, HGC faced the very real possibility of having to begin tour without several of its members – and without conductors or an accompanist, the latter being the esteemed and ever-reliable Dr. Bernard Kreger. The last JetBlue flight from Boston to Seattle, however, managed to blast through the storm blanketing Boston with both conductors and most of the Boston-domiciled Gleeks – though only after a lengthy de-icing and the threat of an eleventh-hour cancellation. And thanks to the speedy communications of Tour Manager Keon Pearson, many of those not on that flight had managed to depart earlier on Thursday. Though some Gleeks were unable to arrive in Seattle on time, most managed to make it — even as Mother Nature chose this two-day period to hit much of the East and Mid-West with snowfall, and make this Tour a memorable adventure before it even began.
Friday, January 3rd: Arrival in Seattle-Tacoma and Rehearsal
Most of the Glee Club Members who had not left early due to the weather made it to Seattle today, and though delays due to more storms in the Mid-West caused more late-arrivals, much of the group assembled together and on time in the SeaTac terminal, to be serenaded by the dulcet Northwestern tones of Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Nirvana. More Gleeks arrived throughout the day as delayed flights landed in Seattle – a notable exception being the aforementioned Bernie, who remained trapped in Boston and would join the group on Saturday. After a quick dinner of Italian fare, the Glee Club spent 4 hours preparing for their first concert with the Seattle-area male chorus Illumni, whose numerous accolades include an appearance on America’s Got Talent. After rehearsal, the Glee Club met their Illumni hosts and dispersed around the Seattle-Tacoma area for a much needed night of rest.
Saturday, January 4th: Free Day and Lagerquist Performance
The Glee Club began its Saturday with an exploration of downtown Seattle, with some of the group taking advantage of a rare cloudless day to take in the views from the Space Needle and Columbia Center, and others exploring Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project, a museum dedicated to pop culture, particularly popular music and science fiction. Next, the Glee Club made the hour long drive to Parkland, WA, a suburb of Tacoma, to Pacific Lutheran College’s beautiful Lagerquist Hall for the joint HGC-Illumni concert. During a rousing rehearsal, the Glee Club was also able to perform a service for one of its alumni, Walker Stanovsky, ’06, by serenading his girlfriend with “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” before he proposed. After this success – aided by the men of Illumni – the Glee Club gave a concert that, in the words of Director Andrew Clark, “set the bar quite high” for the rest of the tour. The day ended with a relaxing pizza dinner at a fabulous local establishment with Illumni, whose set of humorous and serious music also set a brilliant tone for the beginning of the tour.
Sunday, January 5th: Free Day and Saint Mark’s
Sunday offered the Glee Club another opportunity to poke around Seattle, with many Gleeks choosing to hit sights like Pike Place Market that they may have missed during the previous day, and others taking a ferry to the suburb of Bainbridge Island for superb views of the sound and surrounding scenery. Bidding downtown proper good-bye, HGC moved to St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, home to the Pacific Northwest’s most highly-regarded church choral music program, to the acoustically magnificent Compline Corner, and to a beautiful and resonant Dutch-made organ. The group sang selections from its repertoire in liturgical context during Evensong, before giving a short, 5-piece concert for the congregation after the service. To cap the day, St. Mark’s generous parishioners invited the Glee Club to a potluck lunch, before the Gleeks were paired with their hosts from the congregation.
Monday, January 6th: Snoqualmie Day
After two days of serious choral music, the Glee Club was able to take a relaxing day off at the beautiful Suncadia Resort, nestled in the Snoqualmie Pass of the Cascade Mountains. After a scenic drive to the resort, Gleeks chose between going tubing or taking advantage of the resort’s well-endowed spa. Both activities proved relaxing and refreshing, and in the evening the men of HGC were able to relax in their spacious rented homes, enjoy a catered Mexican dinner, and, for football fans, watch Florida State beat Auburn in a thrilling BCS Championship game. HGC left Snoqualmie rested and ready for its drive to Portland the next morning.
Tuesday, January 7th: To Portland, OR
The Glee Club had a somewhat later morning than usual on this Tuesday, as it prepared for a day of travel from Snoqualmie to Portland, OR. After some controlled chaos ensued while assembling the group at the resort’s lodge, HGC ventured back to the West side of the Cascades. For entertainment, the group indulged in what has become a tour tradition: a screening of Mean Girls on the bus. After a quick stop for gas on the way out of the mountains, the group reached I-5 and continued south past Olympia and through scenic country, along the way exchanging Mean Girls for 50/50. A portion of I-5 follows the Columbia River, which forms the border between Washington and Oregon, before crossing it just before Portland. The last part of the trip took HGC over the Willamette, the tributary of the Columbia on which Portland is situated, and afforded the group an excellent introductory vista of the city. After meeting their generous hosts at their Portland concert venue, the men of HGC dispersed around the Greater Portland area, to rest up for a day of adventure and a resumption of choral activities.
Wednesday, January 8: Multnomah Falls and Concert with Portland State University
On Wednesday, the Glee Club assembled at Portland’s First United Methodist Church to embark upon a traditional HGC adventure when in the City of Roses: a trip to Multnomah Falls, the nation’s second-highest year round waterfall located about thirty minutes east of the city on the Columbia River. While some Gleeks chose to explore downtown Portland, most made the trip to Multnomah to take in the view from the bottom – where the water appeared to be dropping from the sky due to a heavy mist – before trekking the 1.25 miles to the falls’ top. After a relaxed lunch at Multnomah’s restaurant – during which the Glee Club serenaded a gift shop employee who happened to be celebrating her birthday – HGC returned to First United Methodist to rehearse with their collaborators for the night’s concert, the Portland State University Chamber Choir, directed by Glee Club alumnus Ethan Sperry. After a delicious dinner from one of Portland’s famous gourmet food carts with their PSU counterparts, the Glee Club prepared for a concert that, given its connection with Ethan, proved particularly special. After PSU delivered a rousing set of diverse music that showcased its immense musical talent, the Glee Club was fortunate to be joined by its hosts for a piece, Brahms’ Die Mainacht, during another successful set that included much of HGC’s current repertoire. With the concert finished, HGC prepared to depart its Portland hosts and head south to Eugene.
Thursday, January 9th: To Eugene, OR, and Concert with University of Oregon Chamber Choir
Thursday saw the Glee Club, in its first and probably last democratic decision of the tour, choose not to stay in Portland for an extra few hours and instead continue directly to Eugene, home of the University of Oregon and Dr. Robert Kyr, the chair of the University’s composition department and the composer of a work commissioned for the Glee Club and premiered in November at Yale, Ode to Music. After the rural drive down the Willamette Valley to Eugene, HGC – after some wandering – found the Ducks’ campus and the classic eating establishments of a college town, and had some time to explore Oregon’s enormous athletic facilities and, in a few cases, get accosted by local residents. After a brief rehearsal and dinner, HGC was privileged enough to hear the University of Oregon Chamber Choir, under the direction of Dr. Sharon Paul, perform a superb set that included one current Glee Club favorite, the Nigerian Christmas carol Betelehemu, as well as old Glee Club standard Shenandoah. HGC once again delivered a successful set, including another excellent performance of Dr. Kyr’s ever-improving and evolving work. After the concert, some Gleeks joined their hosts for an evening of revelry around Eugene, though most chose to go to bed for the next day’s 6:00 AM departure for Nevada County, CA.
Friday, January 10th: To Grass Valley, CA, and Haley Concert
After meeting the bus at 5:30 AM in Eugene, the Glee Club embarked on its longest journey of the tour: the eight and a half hour trek to Grass Valley, California, through the scenic Siskiyou Mounts on the Oregon-California border and from there into the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. After brief and theme-setting stop in the town of Weed, CA, for lunch, HGC continued straight to Grass Valley for its performance at the former home of Glee Club alumnus and winery-owner Allan Haley, ’66, now the residence of Tom and Arlene Dalldorff. When Mr. Haley owned the home, he built a state-of-the-art performance space with wonderful acoustics, in which the Glee Club had performed once before under Jameson Marvin. After helping to set up the venue with members of InConcert Sierra – the local arts promotion group that was instrumental in bringing the Glee Club to Nevada County — and enjoying some quality time with the current residents’ goats and tether ball court, the Glee Club began the evening with a long set by Glee Club Lite, one which included classic Loch Lomand alongside newer pieces like Stacy’s Mom. The Glee Club then performed a brief set in a winding, one row formation that took advantage of and showcased the space’s superb acoustics and HGC’s sound. After the evening’s festivities concluded with more wine-tasting courtesy of Mr. Haley, the Gleeks dispersed to their hosts, some from the party, some from Nevada Union High School.
Saturday, January 11th: Workshop with Nevada Union and Seventh Day Adventist Concert
Saturday saw the men of HGC get to sleep in before heading to the property of the Bill and Anna Trabucco, the former of whose specially built music hall – which included a custom built organ – served as the venue for the Glee Club’s workshop with the Nevada Union High School choral program. The highly successful and talented Nevada Union Chamber Choir knew three pieces from the Glee Club’s repertoire, and the bulk of the time was spent having both choruses work on Josquin’s Tu Pauperum Refugium, Viadana’s Exultate Justi in Domino, and Betelehemu, with a brief break for a Lite performance that succeeded in stealing the hearts of many of the Nevada Union Choir’s female members. After the workshop, the Glee Club took a brief detour for an early dinner in downtown Grass Valley; and though only about half to two-thirds of the group managed to make the bus on time, everyone eventually made it to Grass Valley’s Seventh Day Adventist Church for a long concert that included four brilliant solo performances, all by freshman, during another highly successful set by the larger group. Having enjoyed a generous spread of sandwiches and snacks provided by InConcert Sierra, the Glee Club retired for the next day’s trip to San Francisco.
Sunday, January 12th: To San Francisco, Grace Cathedral Concert, and 8 Course Banquet
As Sales Manager Jared Lucky, ’15, noted in his sales pitch later that afternoon, many Gleeks heralded HGCs arrival in San Francisco by promptly confusing the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, but a lunch time spent on The Embarcadero near the Ferry Building clarified the city’s basic geography. The brief ride to the afternoon’s concert venue, the magnificent Grace Cathedral, followed lunch. In the words of Director Andrew Clark, Grace was the Glee Club’s most prestigious venue on tour, as well as the most difficult acoustic it would encounter. This concert also saw the attendance of large numbers of alumni, without whose support the tour would have been impossible. After a brief, successful set, the Glee Club retired to the Four Seas restaurant for an eight course Chinese banquet punctuated by increasingly raucous songs with alumni, which ran the gamut from Palestrina to 10,000 Men of Harvard. Especially involved in organizing this event for HGC were Glee Club alumni Brent Blackaby, Larry Hyunh, Richard Lonsdorf, and Matt Hobbs, who did much of the legwork for the San Francisco portion of the tour. With the evening concluded, the Gleeks scattered around the Bay Area to settle in for two free days.
Monday, January 13th: Free Day in San Francisco
The Glee Club’s first free day in San Francisco saw most of the Glee Club meet up around lunch time for a trip to Alcatraz graciously organized by Brent Blackaby. After enjoying the island’s varied history and views, the Gleeks split up around the city, some heading to the Golden Gate Bridge, others exploring San Francisco’s varied neighborhoods, and all relishing the free movement afforded by the Glee Club’s provision of Muni cards.
Tuesday, January 14th: Free Day #2 in Frisco
Many Gleeks headed north across the Golden Gate on Tuesday to see Muir Woods, the stand of centuries-old Redwoods about half an hour outside the city. After traversing some winding roads, the men of HGC were able to enjoy some time in nature and take in a beautiful sunset before heading back towards the city. In the evening, about a dozen Gleeks took advantage of an excellent opportunity organized by Glee Club alumnus and San Francisco Symphony Artistic Administrator Richard Lonsdorf, ’06, to see the Symphony rehearse Beethoven’s Mass in C with Michael Tilson Thomas as conductor. Following the rehearsal and a backstage tour that included meeting the conductor, the Gleeks returned to their hosts to prepare to bid the Bay Area farewell for the morning journey to Santa Barbara.
Wednesday, January 15th: To Santa Barbara and the Beach
Wednesday saw the Gleeks regroup in downtown San Francisco for the five and a half hour, nonstop drive to Santa Barbara. After disembarking at their various vacation homes and hotel stays, the men of HGC enjoyed a relaxed day of excellent Mexican food, perfect beach weather, and evening revelry – a perfect way to begin the tour’s final, six day jaunt through Southern California.
Thursday, January 16th: To Los Angeles and Westwood Presbyterian Concert
After sleeping in on Thursday Morning, the men of HGC headed to their penultimate destination, L.A., arriving in time for a lunch-time stroll around Rodeo Drive in Beverley Hills – where only a few members managed to get themselves escorted out of high-end stores. After much-marveling at the Aston Martins, Ferraris, and Rolls-Royces that seemed to be everywhere, HGC moved on to Westwood Presbyterian Church, site of the night’s concert organized by Glee Club alumnus Ken Williams. For this long set, which included an intermission and extended Lite set, the Glee Club used the entirety of its repertoire, which continued to come together very well during another successful performance. After a post-concert reception, the Gleeks met their hosts for the evening and got some sleep to prepare for another day of sight-seeing and singing.
Friday, January 17th: Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Altadena Concert
On Friday morning, the Glee Club made its way downtown for a quick tour of Disney Hall, where – despite not seeing the main concert hall itself – the Gleeks were able to sing in one of the building’s smaller performance spaces. After lunch at L.A.’s Grand Central Market, HGC made its way to San Marino, where Glee Club alumnus and President of the Glee Club Foundation, George Reardon, had arranged for the men to get a special tour of the magnificent Huntington Library, Museum, and Grounds. Following this abbreviated but fascinating stay at the Huntington, the Glee Club continued on to its venue for the evening, Altadena Community Church. Here, HGC collaborated with the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus Young Men’s Ensemble, directed by Dr. Steven Kronauer, on John Dowland’s Come Again, the hymn Jerusalem, and on Glee Club favorite Glorious Apollo. After listening to the LACC ensemble deliver an excellent and mature set, HGC delivered its best concert of tour up to this point, one which benefited from a fantastic space and audience. Once again, HGC concluded the evening by dispersing with hosts for its last night in L.A. County.
Saturday, January 18th: To Escondido via Dana Point and California Center for the Arts Concert
En route to its concert in Escondido, the Glee Club stopped at the house of one its members, Taylor Carol, ’17, on Saturday in Dana Point for a morning at the beach and a delicious, authentic Mexican lunch of tacos and chips. After this refreshing break in perfect weather – all generously facilitated by the Carol family – the Glee club continued on to the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, the site of its penultimate performance of the tour. The Center afforded the group the opportunity to perform in a very professional venue, and HGC did not disappoint, delivering another strong performance. Once again, the sold-out audience was wonderful and responded to much of HGC’s set. With their final concert in sight, the Gleeks departed with their Escondido hosts, sad to be entering the final two days of tour.
Sunday, January 19th: Day in San Diego and Final Concert
HGC spent the beginning of Sunday exploring the San Diego area, with some spending the morning and early afternoon at the city’s world famous zoo, and others wandering the downtown. One contingent of Gleeks quickly found a sports bar in which to watch the AFC championship game – which proved a depressing diversion for the New Englanders of HGC, but a happy one for the group’s numerous Peyton Manning fans. Just after the game ended, HGC left downtown and made for First United Methodist Church, a great space and site of the tour’s last concert. After rehearsal and a generous dinner, the group delivered an excellent final performance which once again included an intermission and extended Lite set, and made use of the Church’s fine organ. The large audience of 700-800 was very appreciative – which became clear as they managed to buy up all the remaining CDs that HGC had brought on tour. With the musical part of their journey finished and one day remaining, the men of the Glee Club retired to their hosts’ accommodations for the evening.
Monday, January 20th: Free Day at La Jolla and Banquet
Monday offered a last opportunity for rest and recuperation at the beach. After meeting in the morning, HGC made for sunny La Jolla, where temperatures in the 70s allowed for swimming, Frisbee, and relaxation during much of the day. In the late afternoon, the men boarded a ship in the harbor for a culminating banquet, during which President Emmet Jao ’14, Tour Manager Keon Pearson ’15, Assistant Tour Manager Alex Rohe ’17, and Director Andrew Clark reflected on the wonderful experience that tour had been. After returning to port, the Gleeks met their final hosts of the tour and prepared for what would prove a longer journey home than anticipated.
Tuesday, January 21st to Wednesday, January 22nd: The Trip Home
After learning on Monday evening that a nor’easter had cancelled their connecting flight from Chicago to Boston, the Gleeks arrived at San Diego International Airport on Tuesday morning to confirm that they would be spending the night in Chicago and flying on to Newark and then to Boston in the morning. This initial crisis resolved, the Glee Club was all set to check in, only to be delayed temporarily by a fire alarm that cleared the terminal. Eventually, every member was able to make it through security, and the Glee Club arrived in Chicago early that evening – only to learn that one of the connecting flights due to leave for Newark the next morning had been cancelled. The lucky Gleeks, on the second Newark flight, were able to depart on time the following morning. Most, however, spent Wednesday in O’Hare or exploring Chicago, awaiting a 9:05 PM flight to Boston that touched down at Logan at half past midnight. Though it took about 24 hours longer than anticipated, every member of the Glee Club was now back at Harvard – just in time to rehearse Verdi’s Requiem with the rest of the Holden Choirs over the next three days!