The Georgia Tech Glee Club held a preview concert of some of its upcoming shows this past Monday, Aug. 22, giving attendees a chance to observe the organization’s creative process in action. They played a medley of some old classics as well as new standards that they will perform in upcoming shows. The concert was informal and casual, giving listeners a chance to hear the rehearsal process and stochastic nature of musical evolution and improvement.
The general idea of this concert was to showcase and give a taste of the club’s upcoming performances. It also was an opportunity for viewers to experience the Glee Club culture and witness a backstage look at their rehearsal and fine-tuning process.
The Club started off with such songs as “King of the Road” by Roger Miller and “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum. Throughout these songs, the instructor, Dr. Jerry Ulrich, showed the audience some of the various key components of the songs and had a section of performers repeating key phrases on their own.
During “Spirit in the Sky,” each section, starting with basses and baritones, would perform their portion of a counterpoint one at a time. As a result, one could hear the gradual formation and pieces of the popular song as they came together.
The performers also showed some of their entertaining, improvised portions of their interpretation. Some of the members mimicked guitar sounds while “air-playing” to portions of the song, while others used a combination of improvisation and verbal percussion. It was an interesting way to see how seemingly “silly” ideas can be built into a cohesive, intricate piece of music.
“Brown Eyed Lion,” another of their songs, was particularly memorable. A combination of “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by The Evening Birds, the songs segued well together and the synonymously fun, light melodies allowed for an easy transition.
Another of their more unique portmanteaus was a combination of Pachelbel’s “Canon” and “Basket Case” by Green Day. While the original version of “Basket Case” was already based on “Canon,” the Glee Club did a great job of bringing out the energy and joy found in both songs. The soothing melody of the “Canon” melted perfectly into the frantic and manic sounds of “Basket Case.”
The group ended with a performance of “Ramblin’ Wreck” with a level of energy and power to rival an entire stadium.
Overall the performance was an entertaining perspective into how the musical process works. Anyone looking for insight into the creative process and how musical systems are designed can learn from concerts like this one.
The Glee Club will continue to perform around campus in the coming year in both private and campus events. Check their website at www.gleeclub.gatech.edu for updated schedules of their performances.