Miami University's Men's Glee Club is celebrating something only 12 other glee clubs in the nation have been able to accomplish: a century of singing.
February 28 marks the 100th anniversary of the Miami Men's Glee Club's first public performance. Since then, the glee club has been a frequent favorite at events for its rich mix of voices, ages and genre of music.
Members come from all academic areas, ethnicities, social groups and regions of the country. Local alumni stay with the group. Others came back last summer: When alumni joined the current glee club for a reunion weekend performance, the nearly 350 singers left almost no room for the audience under their tent.
Over the years, the glee club has given annual winter tours throughout the United States and twelve international tours to destinations ranging from Italy to Finland and Russia.
This week, the glee club presents its crowning performances of its centennial year with upcoming concerts Feb. 28, Feb. 29, and March 1 at Miami's Hall Auditorium.
Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $5 students/youth and $10 general for Thursday and Friday's performance and $5 and $15 for Saturday.
Tickets are available at the Shriver Center box office or at www.tickets.muohio.edu.
Thursday's performance features music from the first Miami Glee Club concert, performed Feb. 28, 1908. The program includes Early American hymns, Appalachian folk tunes, more contemporary spirituals, world music and popular selections.
The glee club will be joined onstage for the second half of the concert by alumni singing favorites from the past five decades of its repertoire including "Brothers Sing On," "Ave Maria" by Franz Biebl and their signature versions of "Johnny Schmoeker" and "Java Jive."
Hundreds of glee club alumni are expected to participate in the concerts. Samples of their performance are online here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KleFGTo66Mk and www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJDusjrMulU.
Current director Ethan Sperry and emeritus director John Wabrick will share the conducting duties.
Not to rest on 100 years of achievements, the glee club takes its first trip to China this summer to perform at the Beijing City Festival: "Perform in Harmony-With Olympic Spirit," Beijing's official kickoff to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. They also will sing in Shanghai and Guangzhao.
For more information, call Miami's department of music at 513-529-3014.