When the Pitt Men’s Glee Club performs on Saturday Night at St. Paul’s Cathedral it will not mark the closing of the spring semester so much as the launch of the Club’s European tour. This year’s tour is perhaps the most ambitious yet because of the Repertoire, Cherubini’s Requiem in D Minor, and the fact that the Glee Club will have the opportunity to perform Cherubini’s masterwork with the Arenberg Orkest at Belgium’s University of Louvain.
“It's an amazing setting of the requiem mass text that ranks right up there with settings by Mozart and Faure,” enthuses director Richard Teaster. “One just rarely hears the work because there are not many men's choirs who can attempt it. It is written for 3 part men's choir (tenor/tenor/bass), and the tenor I part lies very high. It was actually performed at Cherubini's own funeral.”
After their performance in Louvain, the Glee Club and the Arenberg Orkest will travel to Leir (a town just outside of Antwerp) for a second performance of the program.
Yet another collaborative program will take place when the Men’s Glee Club joins forces with the award-winning chamber choir Con Cuore at Waregem, Belgium. Pulling off a major international tour is challenge enough for any performing ensemble; including collaborations with two other ensembles in the course of the tour a major milestone for the Men’s Glee Club.
Besides three demanding concert in Belgium, the Club will perform in Amsterdam and the historic Westerkerk and give two performances in Paris: one at Notre Dame Cathedral and at the American Cathedral of Paris. It’s an ambitions and impressive itinerary for an ensemble that seems to have no qualms about taking on new challenges musically and logistically.
“Particularly over the past five years,” says Teaster, “the Glee Club has grown immensely both in numbers and as an artistic entity. I think the main contributing factors have been the group's participation in the 2008 Intercollegiate Men's Choruses Seminar in DC and the highly successful international tours that we have done over the last decade. We recruited 32 new members this year. We are just under 80 members. The group has not been this large since the mid 70s and before that in the 1930s and 40s. It's exciting to see this many collegiate men participating in choral music.”
And you can help. The Pitt Men’s Glee will continue to raise funds for the 2013 tour right up until they leave on April 29 and contributions of any kind will help to defray the substantial costs. Just visit pittmensgleeclub.org to support the ensemble.
The Pitt Men’s Glee Club is Pitt’s oldest extracurricular activity and the University’s first collegiate musical ensemble. They’ve been making Pitt proud for a long time and they will be impressive ambassadors both for the Department of Music and the University as a whole during their upcoming tour.