- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
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The Purdue Varsity Glee Club returns Jan. 19 for its second performance in La Plata. The group has more than 100 songs put to memory, and representatives say audiences can expect an exciting show with music spanning multiple genres.
The Varsity Glee Club of Purdue University of West Lafayette, Ind., was founded in 1893 with 11 members. Today, Steve Schlenk, director of operations for the Purdue Music Organization, said the group averages about 60 members with 55 currently participating.
The club makes its second appearance in Charles County while en route to Washington, D.C., to perform at the Indiana State Society Inaugural Ball on Sunday.
The local performance is being sponsored by the Chesapeake Choral Arts Society and the College of Southern Maryland’s theater club. The group will perform at 7 p.m. Jan. 19 in the CSM Fine Arts Center on the La Plata campus at 8730 Mitchell Road.
Schlenk said what makes the glee club unique is that none of the singers are music majors at Purdue.
Instead, the dedicated singers come from a range of academic backgrounds. Schlenk said members are studying to be engineers, businessmen and teachers, among other professions. What they have in common is a love and enthusiasm for music, which Schlenk, an alumnus of the club, said comes out in every performance.
Carol Charnock, president of the arts society, said audiences can expect a high-energy, audience-interaction filled show.
“There is not a dull moment in the show,” she said, recalling the performance the club did at New Life Church in White Plains last year.
Glee club alumnus William Thiedeman of Waldorf said the all-male ensemble holds true to old traditions and values of what it means to be a gentleman. The group performs in tuxedos; the men are clean-cut and shaven and are known to pass out a carnation or two to the ladies.
Musically, Thiedeman said, the group covers pretty much all genres, including barbershop-style music and Disney hits.
The main group breaks off into smaller groups during the show, covering specific generations of music, such as the 1950s and 1970s.
Thiedeman said the vast amount of music allows for every member of the audience to “love several songs throughout the show.”
Thiedeman was with the group for four years.
He said he was involved in theater and choir while in high school at Maurice J. McDonough.
When he visited Purdue University, he sat in on a rehearsal with the glee club and was impressed with how the group sounded.
“I was just blown away at how everyone sounded just at a rehearsal,” he said.
He said the quality of the music with the Purdue Music Organization is “top notch.”
For those who may have already seen the group perform, Schlenk said it’s worth coming out to see them again.
“No show is the same,” he said, hinting at a few surprises he didn’t want to spoil.
Tickets are available at www.chesapeakechoral.com or at the door for $20 per person. Only cash or checks will be accepted at the door. Call 301-642-0594.