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Glee Club Update

Things are looking up in the 2010-2011 season after what amounted to a re-start last year.

A new group of enthusiastic and talented students, led by dedicated volunteer student leaders, rehearses regularly and seeks out performing opportunities.  With no links to the Glee Club's past apart from interested alumni, the club has reinstated Winter and Spring concerts.  The singers have also landed gigs at various campus events, including the Yule Log Ceremony.

It's quite a contrast from September 2009, when the Glee Club almost disappeared.  The students - especially those who volunteered to become officers - deserve the credit.

Alumni helped.  As simple an act as updating the club's history - which had not been done since 1970! - served to give today's students some sense of what a glee club does and what the Columbia Glee Club was.  So did assembling a file of concert programs and perusal copies of scores.

Coming together in June 2010 to sing a Reunion performance also allowed Glee Club alumni to model what the club once was.  That was helpful to the students.  But it was also important for the club's other constituencies, including administrators, since the club had been allowed to drift away from its historical place in the University.  100 alumni showing up for the 2010 Reunion galvanized a lot of attention and respect.

In an organizational sense, the Glee Club is still a bit fragile.  Many more activities compete for students' time than in the past.  The club could use more men's voices.  Planned officer succession isn't yet a given.  But that only means the club needs more time to re-establish itself, to plan, to grow and to institutionalize the practices that will allow it to thrive.

Update on Alum Activities

Following Reunion 2010, the Alumni Organizing Committee responded to participants' comments by expanding to become more representative of the entire Glee Club alumni body.  Growing from 4 to 14, including women and covering more geography and graduation years (1950s to 1990s), the committee deliberated on best next steps.

Important input from an online survey taken among Glee Club alumni figured heavily in the discussions.

Recognizing the limited capacity of today's Glee Club to absorb change and resources at present, the Alumni Organizing Committee resolved to expand the scope of its efforts to include other campus singing ensembles.

By helping to support all singing on campus, the thinking goes, we will encourage an environment that will help the Glee Club grow.

And by organizing ourselves formally as an alumni group with a voice and an agenda, we will be able to have more influence and impact on that environment than if any alum acted individually.

Working with the University-wide Columbia Alumni Association, we have formed an official alumni affinity group, Columbia Alumni Singers.  As it fulfills its mission to support, serve and sing, we expect the Glee Club will benefit.

In addition to this web site, we have been working to add Glee Club names to the University's contact database.  This will make communications about our activities easier.

Click here to update your contact information.  While in your profile, scroll to the bottom - Alumni Clubs and Associations - click to Update, and select Columbia Alumni Singers as an e-mail subscription on the first available e-mail list.  If you have been receiving e-mail messages about the Reunion, you're already signed up.

We also started a Glee Club Alumni and Friends Facebook group, which enjoyed a burst of use before Reunion 2010.  And may again.  Like all Facebook groups, it's up to you.

You can also read the .pdf of the follow-up article on Reunion 2010 that ran in the Sep-Oct 2010 Columbia College today.