The men who made the Ramblin’ Wreck tune a nationally, if not internationally, recognizable fight song are seeking fresh vocals to strike their chords.
With a variety of songs, the Glee Club presented Tech’s singing voice to incoming students this Mon., Aug. 23, at the Rock Your Face Off Concert. Beginning at the Navy ROTC building—their base of operations—the singers proceeded to perform at public areas around campus.
“This concert is an opportunity to show new students what Glee Club is about, show how we perform and give them a good experience,” said Parker Vascik, second-year AE and singer.
The Glee Club, an all-male a cappella ensemble, is one of the oldest student organizations on campus. Through the years, the club has performed at venues such as the Smithsonian, Adult Swim and The Ed Sullivan Show.
They also did an international tour via military transport just after World War II. Currently numbering at over 50 singers, the club manages to land gigs at dozens of events nationwide each year, including three to four formal events.
The Glee Club shared the spotlight with other vocal groups on campus. The official Tech vocal groups with academic credit options are Glee Club, Chorale, Chamber Choir and the Women’s Chorus. There are a cappella and mixed vocals student clubs like Nothin’ but Treble, Sympathetic Vibrations and Infinite Harmony.
“We have very relaxed and non-traditional concerts. We’re not wearing ties and everything like that, and there’s a lot of audience interaction. It’s not like Glee where they dance a choreographed thing. Our [choreography] is entirely spontaneous; it’s whatever the people singing feel like doing. A lot of times the set list itself is very spontaneous,” said Ron Shultis, fourth-year IAML major.
After general or sectional meetings, members often start an impromptu concert in any space they can find an audience, both to entertain and to recruit.
Previous vocal training or any musical experience at all is not required.
“It’s completely non-audition… and [learning] really takes place within the sections. If the guy next to you notices that you’re singing horrendously flat, he’s going to tell you you’re singing flat and give you some tips,” said Andrew Meloan, third-year CHBE major.
Unlike the other official vocal groups, members are not required to already be familiar with sight reading and vocal technique. What makes the Glee Club a prime opportunity for freshmen (and their untuned singing voices) is that other members teach these techniques during meetings.
“Part of the advantage of being non-audition is that we have people who have never sung and don’t read music, and at the same time we have [Governor’s Honors Program] chorale majors. There’s a mix that really brings the inexperienced up, so it helps,” said Adam Stensland, fourth-year MGT major.
With several national events this year, cost incurred upon the individual singers is not a major obstacle and should not be a deterrent to interested students. After Student Government Association (SGA) funding, dues and support from the School of Music, the Glee Club finds its own sources of financial support from gigs.
“We have a relationship with AirTran, where we sing Christmas carols in the [Hartsfield-Jackson Airport] terminals, and in turn, they give us free tickets anywhere we fly. Between our own fundraising and singing at events, we usually get transportation costs down low so it’s reasonable for students,” Shultis said.
The next events the Glee Club has planned are singing at the homecoming football game on Oct. 9 and several events for the Alumni Association. Their end-of-the-year concert is Dec. 5, and they intend to schedule another on-campus concert in early Nov.
Glee Club invites all students to join, especially in the first few weeks of the semester, by simply walking into the Navy ROTC building during general meetings on Monday at 6 p.m. There is also a Glee Club class—MUSI 1222 a one credit hour, letter grade basis—which can be counted as the required humanities credit after four semesters.