Wabash Blogs Immersion 2008: Glee Club in California

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What A Concert Tour Should Look Like

Glee Club Photo Album 

Ian Scales '10 - Wednesday in San Francisco. Quite possibly our busiest day yet this week but, despite long waits at the bus stops and uphill walks, everything fell together like clockwork. After another filling continental breakfast of hardboiled eggs and make-your-own waffles, we set out for morning rehearsal at St. Dominic’s Church. The generosity of St. Dominic’s has been outstanding. There is nothing better than having the chance to sing in a sanctuary with beautiful acoustics to prepare for our performances later today. 


On our way back to the hotel, we had a little bit of a hold up at one of the bus stops. However, full buses (the bane of traveling in a group of thirty-five) didn’t stop us from rehearsing right there at the stop. As the T-Tones sang “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” an empty bus rolled up and we all boarded. Lunch was standard, a great sandwich at a small joint across from the hotel. It seems that every restaurant advertises itself as “sandwich.” Even a Vietnamese restaurant had “New Vietnamese Sandwiches,” but I digress. 


Our first performance in the afternoon was at Grace Cathedral. An absolutely gorgeous cathedral, it was the first American church I have seen that is comparable to those of Europe. The acoustics of the space were incredible and it was a joy to experience singing at Grace. Wabash and Glee Club alum Fred LaCosse ’56 came to hear us sing and then led us down the street to the Family Club building where we would be singing later that night. Mr. LaCosse gave us a little history of the area, Nob Hill, and, after changing out of our uniforms, we had a few hours to spend at Union Square. Yet another shopping district in San Francisco, a few guys and I found ourselves in Rasputin Music & Movies wasting more of our money on vintage LP’s and five dollar CDs. We had just enough time to make it down to the Westfield shopping center, the only place I have ever seen that had curved escalators. Yes, there was a spiral staircase of escalators. Oh, and did I mention they didn't charge 25 cents to use the restrooms? A nice luxury. 


We headed back to the Family Club and got in our uniforms. We started the evening with hors d’oeuvres and meeting some of the members of the club before everyone went upstairs for a fantastic meal, FOR FREE!!! After dinner it was time to perform. Mr. LaCosse introduced us and we marched in singing “Old Wabash.” The concert was great, our best performance yet this week. In addition to songs by the entire Glee Club directed by Dr. Bowen, sophomore Ben Harvill directed us for “Sick of the Songs of the Sea” and the T-Tones presented a few numbers. It went smoothly and all the members of The Family were very appreciative. All in all, Wednesday was a fun and successful day for the whole Glee Club and Company full of singing. We are getting more and more comfortable here everyday and we can’t wait to finish the week off right with three more performances, and only a few more of those oh-so-lovely tourist traps.



Lucian Lupinski '11 - Today, Wednesday, was our busiest day thus far, excluding Sunday, of course. We had to be at breakfast by 7:45 AM and ready to go by 8:45 to practice at St. Dominic’s Church. After practice was over, we were given a short lunch break. From there, we traveled to Grace Cathedral where we gave our first performance of the day. For this concert, we did a combination of what Dr. Bowen has classified as sacred and secular pieces. We had a successful performance. Wabash alumnus Fred LaCosse took us to his club, the Family, where we could change out of our uniforms. From there we were able to explore the famous Union Square area. After doing some window shopping, we returned to the Family Club. We then “suited up” and proceeded to our dinner; it was quite nice. After receiving a briefing on the evening’s performance from Dr. Bowen, we were ready to perform. This was one of the larger performances I have given with the Glee Club. Our concert was received very well by the members and their guests. After the concert, we sang the Alma Mater for a couple of Alumni. We returned to the hotel, to quote Doctor Bowen, “to sleep, perchance to dream.”


Forrest Craig '10 - This evening the Glee Club had a wonderful time performing for “The Family,” a ritzy social club located in downtown San Francisco consisting of about 800 men. These men are all interested in or connected to the fine arts in some way. In general, they love music, so they were greatly anticipating our visit. Tonight was a special night because the men invited their wives for a special (i.e. expensive) dinner, and overall, they greatly enjoyed our visit.

When we arrived around 2:00pm, we were given a quick tour of the building and then dropped off our suits in the dressing room. We had planned to arrive early so that we all could spend some time exploring the cafes, shops, and department stores of Union Square. During that time I ended up perusing the streets with none other than Pat Griffith and Tian Tian, sipping milkshakes and wandering through department stores.

            The evening’s concert began at 7:00pm and was definitely the longest one of our tour so far. It was also the most unusual concert, in that Dr. Bowen added a bit of theatrics to the program. Feigning a mutiny, the Glee Club rebelliously refused to sing another song about the sea or sailors or pirates, so Ben Harvill was sent to the front to conduct the Glee Club in our singing of “Sick of the Songs of the Sea.” It was all very entertaining and our audience had a laugh. Also out of the ordinary was the trio that Tian Tian, Patrick, and I played. We had our six hands tangled together on one keyboard, which the audience had a riot over.

            Before and after the concert, “The Family” invited us downstairs to enjoy a time of socializing. There were free, non-alcoholic drinks provided for us (to the dismay of many), and the men and women of “The Family” pleasantly engaged us with their lively conversation. Those conversations ranged from politics (with Bryce Chitwood) to days gone by with alumnus Fred Lacosse, ‘56. 

            However, one conversion I had was especially memorable. It was soon after the trio had finished its second performance of Das Dreyblatt that an elderly couple approached Patrick and me. After spending a few minutes talking about our piece, the conversation moved towards our mutual love and appreciation for music. The couple expressed the great enjoyment music gave them and made sure to let us know that we should always keep music in our lives. Patrick and I assured them that we would. As the lyrics say in one of our songs “let music never die in me!”