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Glee Club honors 75 years

By Michele Rollen, Alligator Writer

Published in the Independent Alligator, April 20, 2001

The 75th anniversary performance of UF's Men's Glee Club will be held Saturday at the University Auditorium at 8 p.m.

The Men's Glee Club, along with the Women's Chorale, has had a long history of performing a variety of music from classic to modern.

"Some of the music will be very serious and some will be very lighthearted," said Ronald Burrichter, director of the Men's Glee Club and the Woman's Chorale. "I try to tailor the music to meet as many musical backgrounds and tastes as I can."

There are over 1,600 alumni, and 10 to 15 alumni will sing for the reunion.

Attending this year's reunion event will be Larry Lancit, founder of Reading Rainbow, among others.

"The Men's Glee Club has a very distinguished alumni list," said Burricter, who has been the director off and on since 1984.

The annual spring concert and this year's reunion performance will showcase the talent and creativity of the singers.

The 40 men in the glee club, almost exclusively non-music majors, will sing a cappella, and the 65 women will have a few instrumentals accompanying their pieces.

"There tends to be a misconception that music groups are only open to music majors," Burrichter said. "That's just not true. We would love to have anyone who loves to sing."

The Men's Glee Club originally was founded in 1907 but had difficulties staying in existence. Then in 1925, a group of students organized the existing glee club. The singers performed for their own pleasure and for those who would listen.

"They would often tour on their own in their own cars," Burrichter said.

After UF became co-educational in 1947, the Women's Glee Club was founded, and is now called the Women's Chorale.

At first, the performers had to audition, but now the groups are open to all students who wish to join.

The clubs often challenge their members with new areas of singing, Burrichter said.

"I've always intended for members to use their creative ability and minds," he said. "Singing is a very intellectual activity."

Visitors to the club's Web site can listen to some performances and see pictures of past glee clubs. The site is grove.ufl.edu/~gleeclub.