Glee clubs rock Woolsey Hall in 104th annual concert for The Game

Tonight at 8 p.m., the Yale and Harvard Glee Clubs will be joining voices in Woolsey Hall to continue a 104-year-old tradition of pre-Game musical celebration.

The Harvard Glee Club is an all-male group with 60 singers, while Yale’s coed Glee Club is comprised of 82 undergraduate singers.

“We have an eclectic repertoire to engage the audience,” Yale Glee Club President Tiffany Card ’04 said. The repertoire covered by both groups spans different musical periods and genres, including Renaissance, classic, romantic, 20th-century, spirituals and folk songs.

Yet underlying this collaborative musical effort between Yale and Harvard is the ever-present discord of school rivalry. In addition to performing music, the glee clubs are expected to perform “pranks” on each other throughout the concert. Last weekend at the Princeton-Yale Glee Club concert, Yale Glee Club members found themselves assaulted by orange paper airplanes, orange Frisbees, orange silly string and orange bouncy balls onstage. These “orange” pranks by the Princeton Glee Club are a mere prelude to the clash between Old Blue and the Crimson that is being planned for this evening’s concert.

Perhaps the most popular Glee Club concert, the Yale-Harvard concert is a chance to juxtapose a serious well-polished repertoire with silly songs intended to rile the Cantabs, members said.

“Not only do we get to sing traditional repertoire, we get to ‘compete’ against the other glee club. Basically, we try to out-sing them. For the football medley, we put on Yale gear and Yale hats. It’s a really festive atmosphere. So even [if] Harvard’s pranks are distracting, it’s [still] pretty funny,” Sam Chu ’06 said.

The Yale Glee Club’s selections will include Brahms’ Vier Quartette (Op. 92), a Gaelic piece called “Dulaman” arranged by Michael McGlynn, and the “Yale Football Medley,” whose lyrics include: “No hope for Harvard!/Boola boola, Boola boola–/When we ‘rough-house’ poor old Harvard/They will holler Boola boo/Oh, Yale, Eli Yale!”

Other reasons besides school spirit make this concert special for members of the Yale Glee Club.

Card said one of her favorite aspects of the Game weekend concert is interacting with the Glee Club’s large base of alumni.

“One year before the concert, an old man in a blue blazer and Glee Club tie came up to me and asked very sweetly if we would be singing Bright College Years, our alma mater,” Card said. “It is that sense of fond nostalgia for Yale that is the true spirit of the Glee Club, and I believe that comes through in this concert most of all, surrounded as it is by the long-standing traditions of The Game.”

The Glee Club practices before a performace. This weekend, the Glee Club gives its annual Game concert.
Courtesy ofGleeClub
The Glee Club practices before a performace. This weekend, the Glee Club gives its annual Game concert.

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