Fall Break Tour Day #2
by Jeremy Chance
Back on the road early with the Glee Club. Call time this morning was a bright and early 6:45 am. Now we’re on the bus heading back to the Chicago area after a fabulous day in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The morning yesterday started out not quite as this morning did. We left Lake Zurich around 9:45 to drive up to Milwaukee. I really don’t recall what time we arrived. Dates and times seem to blur after so long. Once in Milwaukee we hung out at Le Club, a local fitness and health club. Guys were able to play tennis, use the pool, work out in the gym or just hang out in the common areas. Lunch was at our leisure, and Le Club provided us with sandwiches, chips and soda. It was a pretty solid meal.
The Purdue football game was on, and let’s just say that the Boilermakers never cease to amaze me. Week after week you think they can’t lose in a more embarassing way, but it keeps happening. Turnover after turnover after turnover after turnover, you’d think they’d get sick of turning the ball over. I’m friends with our quarterback, Joey Elliott, and I just wish he would play better (for his sake really, not ours). He’s definitely a talented quarterback, but he’s just not making wise decisions. I don’t know very much about the intricacies of football and playing quarterback, and I won’t pretend to. However, I do know that if you turn the ball over, whether it be by interception, fumble or whatever, you’re goin to lose. And it’s not all on Joey. Other guys are fumbling the ball. I just wish the guys would get it together. They’re a talented group…they just can’t quite get it together.
Anyways, now that my football rant is over, I’ll get back to the Glee Club trip. We watched the game, ate some food and really just kicked back and relaxed while we were afforded the opportunity. From Le Club we headed to White Fish Bay High School, our assistant manager Dan Gardiner’s old high school for set up and sound check. After all that we rehearsed with the high school’s choir, as they were performing with us that evening. We ran through “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and sounded pretty good. The high school choir picked up on our nuances and blended right in for the most part.
After rehearsal, we headed to dinner. We had dinner at Sprecher Brewery Co., in town and had a nice meal. Before dining we took a tour of the facility and saw the process through which they make their products. Though the company started out with beer as their main product, they do brew sodas as well. In fact, they sell more rootbeer than all their other products combined. The tour was great, and we were able to sample some of their products (unfortunately only the non-alcoholic beverages…for the time being 🙂 ). We sang a few of our table songs as we enjoyed dinner. A local catering company provided the meal which consisted of greenbeans, mashed potatoes, beef brisket and pulled pork. Of course we were drinking Sprecher’s delicious sodas with dinner. I only tried their rootbeer, but it was pretty delicious. Maybe some other time I’ll have to try Raven Red or Puma Cola.
After dinner we headed back to the high school for the performance. We sang our surround and ran on stage to begin the show. We started with our Indiana Medley and had some microphone issues to begin. In true Glee Club fashion, we adjusted and moved on, and Josh Getto sang the first solo without a mic. They worked out the issue for the second solo which featured hometown boy Dan Gardiner. The first half wasn’t the greatest. It seemed maybe some of the focus was a little off. Lighthouse, our gospel quarter, performed and sounded great. We performed a lot of stuff that we didn’t perform Friday night in Lake Zurich. Because we have 4 full dress shows, a church service and a high school convocation, Bill made it a point to mix up the song selection more than ever, and as an “old man” in the group I really appreciated that, and I think a lot of the old men really did.
Dan sang the runout song to lead us into halftime. The Boiler Boys began halftime with their new medley of songs. The Clever Lads debuted a new song last night that the audience really enjoyed, despite a few mishaps. As always, BaNaNa had the crowd going wild with their Beach Boys medley and “Shout.”
The second half began with “You Don’t, You Won’t,” which definitely has sounded better. It wasn’t the best way to begin the second half, especially after Dan lit into us pretty good during halftime. Once through that song we really stepped it up, focused and reconnected with Bill. VoiceOvers performed “Carry On My Wayward Son” again, along with “Plainotfancy.” I was pretty pleased with the way the latter sounded considering we hadn’t performed that one in quite some time. And of course “Carry On” rocked, per usual. The crowd really seemed to enjoy that one. Once again we had some sound issues as the onstage monitors were not feeding us back our voices. It made it crucial to listen to ourselves across our arched lineup. Overall I was pleased with the way our group sounded.
The high school’s choir joined us on stage and performed “The Battle Hymn” with us. There were about 30 guys and 50 ladies that joined us, and they did a great job. I will admit though, I lost focus at one point. One of the things that makes the Glee Club and all of PMO’s ensembles unique is our focus and our attentiveness to the director or whomever may be speaking in front of us. We keep our eyes locked in on Bill at all time. Last night…I lost focus, but I can bet I wasn’t the only one. As the choir is joining us on stage, their guys are filing on to the risers as the girls are lining up in front of our risers. I see a large, blonde nappy set of hair making it’s way up the risers, and I will admit I had to investigate. I quickly glanced and saw that it was a guy who just had really long, disgusting dreadlocks. It was….interesting? I guess that’s the best way to put it. Regardless, they joined us on stage and we performed the hell out of that song.
Toward the end of the show, Dan brought his mother on stage to present his lavalier(which is a necklace with our little Glee Club Pete on it). Each Glee Clubber has the opportunity as a senior to present two lavaliers, one to the woman he intends to marry, and the other to his mother. Dan sang a (very lowered) version of the Backstreet Boys song, “The Perfect Fan.” Dan did a really good job it. In our preshow lineup someone had joked that Dan tripled the number of solos he had done in his Glee Club career in that one performance alone. Dan’s a great guy and definitely has done a wonderful job over the course of his career, and I was glad to see him perform well.
We concluded our show with two of our favorites, “This is the Moment” and “Hail Purdue.” David Maurer sang the solo for “This is the Moment” and did a wonderful job. David has an amazing bass voice and really rocked the solo.
After the show we mingled with the Milwaukee crowd, like we do, and the people really seemed to enjoy it. Because we hadn’t been to the city in a quarter century, it was the first Glee Club experience for most of them, and those people were very receptive and very thankful to us for performing.
We stayed with locals in the community once again, and Jeremy Clifford and I stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a couple that moved from Scotland to the States four years ago and lived next to the Gardiners. They were a gracious couple and we really enjoyed staying with them. The Gardiners had some guests over, so we headed there to socialize for a bit. Mr. Gardiner had purchased a few cases of the Sprecher beer, so we were finally able to sample the fine brew. I personally had a Black Bavarian and an Oktoberfest, both of which were on the darker side. They were both pretty delicious. I wanted to sample all six, but s combination of the 6:45 am call time and our homestays’ readiness to leave hindered that goal. Probably a good life choice though. Regardless, it was a wonderful reception and the Gardiners did a fabulous job getting everything set up and prepared. The people of Milwaukee were great, and despite the cold weather, I was actually pretty bummed to leave.
But we move on to our next venue and our next performance, like we do. We have a church service at Palos Park Presbyterian Church at 10:30, followed by a 3 pm full dress show at Trinity College. Mom’s coming up for that one, so that’s cool. Hopefully she brings whatever siblings of mine she can. I like having family there when I perform. I wish I’d have more of my friends from the area come. People know I’m in the Glee Club, but most don’t really know what it is that we do. I just want them to see how great we are!!
So from this frigid bus to you, thanks for reading and enjoy your day. Recap of Day #3 to come tomorrow!