Singing the Praises of the Glee Club
Your article on the RPI Glee Club (From the Archives, March 2001) brought back more than memories; it took me back to the start of what has become my second career.
I was in the Glee Club in the mid-50s, when Joel Dolven was conductor. Joel was hard to know personally; he always seemed distant, in another world. That is, until he stood in front of a chorus. He remains the finest conductor I have ever performed under. Such was the dedication and love he inspired in us that we eagerly attended three rehearsals per week, the third on Friday evenings (occasionally bringing dates), and we memorized everything we sang (except oratorios). I joined on a whim; I was a classically trained pianist and had never sung before.
I retired in 1995 after a 33-year career with Bell Labs. But, in 1984, I founded a four-person singing group, the D-Major Singers, performing folk music of the people in America in the 1700s. We have performed more than 75 times in five states, and have made tapes and CDs, distributed throughout the U.S., Canada, and the British Isles.
Joel Dolven gave me my love for vocal music and the training I needed to sing and conduct. I am pleased that the Rensselyrics are now in the business, and perhaps they can bring back a vestige of the wonderful music that RPI had with Joel.
Paul (Pete) Brady 58
Thank you for the feature on the Glee Club. Im sure it was valued by many.
For myself, after almost 35 years, I cant imagine calculus, Im probably more dangerous in the chem lab, and I dont remember much of Herr Greens German, but I still sing and am proud of the many, many fine concerts we performed particularly with our fine orchestra and the wonderful Professor Joel Dolven.
Howard Henze 69
As a four-year member of the Glee Club (1946-1950) and occasional student assistant conductor, I felt your March Archives article was all too brief. Two of the highlights during my era were the performance of the Faure Requiem and the receipt of a standing ovation for singing All thru the Night in Welsh before a predominantly Welsh audience at the Eisteddfod festival in Utica.
I do have a regret, however: you failed to mention Joel Dolven, the great choral director who was responsible for the Glee Club and its greatest achievements.
Robert Minnich 50
I sang at Rensselaer from 1973 to 1976 in a co-ed choir. This predates the first co-ed singing group on record by 15 years. Most of the women members were from Russell Sage, but there were Rensselaer women in the choir as wellone happened to be my steady girlfriend (Lisa Hallquist). I dont remember the directors name, but I do remember an original work of his that we performed one Christmas: Gaudeamus. As was often the case, we were accompanied by the RPI symphony orchestra.
Im glad to hear that singing is still alive and well at dear old RPI.
Ray Brown 76
In response to Mr. Anagnoss letter in the March 2001 alumni mag (Mixed Emotions), I think that he might be inferring a little too much from the article. The fact that we have all of that electronic entertainment equipment does not detract from our learning experiences nor from our perception of the real world in any way. On the contrary, I think that it gives us a better understanding of it. One must consider that all of the equipment that I own, I worked for and paid for myself. From my desktop and laptop computers to the electronic equipment (sans the TV, which I received as a graduation gift) to the car that I left home to the textbooks from which I study, I have earned every dollar of their respective values.
I come from a middle-class family who taught me that anything that I want, I have to earn. I think that the ability to maintain credible scholastic averages while enjoying the luxuries of modern-day America shows the true caliber of the students, and engineers, of the future.
Edward Gorcenski 04
A Bridge Memory
Thank you for the article on A Work of Art and Engineering by Meg Gallien. It brought back many teen memories of summers in the 60s spent with my aunt and her family. I would cross the bow bridge to the next town of Corinth to a popular teen hangout. Just last summer my husband and I visited the bridge and it was so sad to see it in ruins.
I wish Tom Ryan and others lots of luck in their endeavors to preserve the bridge. How do I contact Ryan and where can I purchase the book, The Art and History of the Bow Bridge?
Editors note: You may order the book by mail from Tom Ryan, P.O. Box 70, Corinth, NY 12822-0070, by check or money order only for $19.95 plus $3.50 for shipping and handling. (New York State residents, add 7 percent sales tax, $1.40.)
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