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Glee Club celebrates 75th year with past members

By Michele Rollen, Alligator Writer

Published in the Independent Alligator, April 23, 2001

Everything is quiet until the voices rise in unison. With his hands waving, the animated conductor leads the singers to fill the auditorium with music.

Ronald Burrichter conducted the Men's Glee Club 75th anniversary performance Saturday evening at the annual spring concert presented by the UF School of Music.

Burrichter brought together alumni and students to perform, in addition to the regular Men's Glee Club and Women's Chorale performances.

The alumni were excited and a little nervous coming back to UF. Before they met with the current members for the first time on Saturday, the alumni had only received a tape of the music they would be singing.

"I was a little nervous at first, but I have had fun all day," said Lawson Spare, class o 1961, a retiree who was in the Glee Club all four years of his time at UF.

Alumni were able to reminisce about their days in the club and see how their experiences compare to members now.

"We had a good time then and today," Spare said. "The members had us intermingled with them during the performance and did their best to involve us. I'm ticked to death that I came."

Current members enjoyed meeting the alumni because of what they learned from them.

"They had some great stories. They have a tremendous amount of history that adds to it," sophomore David Pilkinton said.

To commemorate the anniversary, the club commissioned the song, "Music, Sweet Music," composed by Robert Lau, who holds degrees from Lebanon Valley College, the Eastman School of Music and Catholic University of America.

In addition to the alumni who returned to UF, alumni from as early as 1932 sent warm wishes to the current men in the Glee Club through phone calls and letters, Burrichter said.

During the performance, the Women's Chorale presented the men with a plaque commemorating their 75th anniversary.

"I think we did really well, but I think the men did really, really well," said Amineh Busch, a member of the Women's Chorale.

Joe Holmes, class of 1960, was impressed with the quality of the young men in the Glee Club and thought that there is more musical talent now than when he was in the club.

"All this was extra-curricular then, now they are very good technicians and are well disciplined," Holmes said. "I loved it, we left school in '60 and coming back here, being in this environment, has been wonderful."