A tradition revived with glee
By Frenche Brewer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-3691
Sing it from the rooftops -- glee club is making a comeback to USC.
“I’ve found that men like to sing together, and the signature of men’s choirs is that they’re doing it because they really enjoy it,” said Alicia Walker, who will direct the new group.
Walker, who is beginning her second year of teaching in the School of Music, has enjoyed directing men’s choirs ever since working with similar groups in high school. She said glee clubs are a great American tradition. In fact, USC once had a men’s choir in the School of Music, originally called Men’s Glee, along with a Women’s Glee Club. The two choirs eventually morphed into what is now the USC University Chorus, which Walker also conducts.
Today everything old is new again.
It was Walker’s idea to bring back the popular singing ensemble. This fall USC’s men’s chorus will debut as a one-credit course offered through the School of Music, open to any young man who likes to sing. In order to get course credit he must enroll in MUSC 128. Other young men interested in joining purely for the joy of singing, or for non-credit, should get in touch with Walker in the School of Music.
“It builds a lot of camaraderie and energy in your choral program and collegiate men’s choirs are a great tradition in the United States, and among SEC schools,” Walker said. “One of the things we want to do here at the School of Music is reach out across this huge campus. It’s a major university, and there are a lot of young men out there who are good singers. Maybe they’re not majoring in music, but they would like a creative outlet.This is a chance to get with other guys and sing.”
Chris Leysath, a 2012 graduate from Orangeburg now pursuing a graduate degree in music education, said the USC Glee Club is singing his tune.
“I’ll be providing accompaniment, assistant conducting and singing, too. I think more men will join because they don’t have to audition, and that will ease their anxiety and remove any barriers from joining,” Leysath said.
But don’t confuse the USC Glee Club with the current musical comedy-drama television series, which Walker considers more musical theatre. She’s already begun working on the repertoire, which will include a variety of genres.
“There’s so much great men’s literature out there from every historical style period,” Walker said. “Some of it was originally for men’s voices; some of it has been adapted for them, so we’ll pull a little from all of that, as well as from 20th century folk songs, spirituals, sea shanties, popular a cappella arrangements and traditional pieces people will recognize.”
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