No single class had a majority of its clubbers attend any past reunion. This year almost every class after 1963 is likely to have a majority of their classmates at the Centennial Reunion. And we think that at least 50 alumni over 73 will attend as well. We have seven registered in their 90s. And, boy, have I heard some stories from them!
You already know that the Glee Club’s reunion will be on October 1-4, an away football weekend, with an expanded slate of events in recognition of the Glee Club’s centenary. And you have heard that the events are being planned on an unprecedented scale in every way.
The concert will be in the 2,500 seat Morris Auditorium, which the glee clubs of the 1920s through the 1940s sang in, and which is considered one of the temples of theatre in the United States. It will sell out. It put South Bend on the map in 1940, when it drew more than 100,000 people to Michigan Street outside the theatre to see a “Calvacade of Hollywood Stars” in town for the premiere of “Knute Rockne, All American.”
Dinner before and party after the concert will be at the historic Palais Royale Ballroom, home of glee club dances in days long past.
A golf tournament, tours, lectures, and lots of opportunities, from the quartet level up. Even events for the kids. Flash mob master Doon Wintz has a plan for us to surprise an unsuspecting crowd. Will it be at the family-oriented street festival called South Bend Downtown, or the university-sponsored annual three-mile road race for cancer awareness? There will be some cameo appearances by ND celebrities too.
Some glee-club-themed photo opportunities, a Glee Club Juke Box, even a set for video-recording anecdotes and interviews. That will be worthwhile to the TV station that is talking to us about producing a documentary about the weekend. We will have teams of photographers and videographers working throughout the weekend, and excerpts of our rich archival collection of audio recordings back to 1923, video back to 1933, and photos, posters, and artifacts on display.. A new 24″ poster, showing all 60 glee club mugs floating on a white background, should become a collectible.
You also know that Notre Dame Press is releasing a hard-covered history of the Glee Club by Michael Anderson with more than 200 illustrations, and with an e-book counterpart that is enhanced with links to online audio, video, and cascades of historical photos available nowhere else. Attendees will each receive a copy of the book, which we expect will sell out quickly.
We can’t tell you anything about the concert itself, except to say that it is being staged in a way that no one will ever forget. Banquet for 750 Saturday in the Joyce Center, and we’ll rock the rafters of the big Red Barn at St. Joseph’s Farm afterwards; the converted reception hall will be decorated for a “Game Watch” party as the Irish face Clemson on giant screen TVs.
Sunday morning Mass in the sanctuary of Sacred Heart Basilica. Seven glee club alumni are among the priests buried on campus, and we will have at least nine clubber-priests and a couple of seminarians at our reunion.
During the weekend, the Glee Club will honor all of its tour sponsors by recognizing its fourth Honorary Glee Clubber. Harry Durkin, 85, of Fort Lauderdale, has arranged more glee club concerts, in northern New Jersey from 1957 to 1980 and in Florida since 1984, than any other sponsor in the club’s history. His Alice died recently, but he remains an active volunteer for all Notre Dame causes and many others. Besides David Isele and Doris Stam and several members of the Pedtke family, a number of Friends of the Glee Club, like longtime Alumni Office head, Chuck Lennon, will be joining our celebration.
Please register now. We have as many as 400 alumni already telling us that they’re coming, but some of them are delaying putting the registration on their charge card. And hotel rooms cost less than half of what they would for a home game weekend, but the Glee Club group rate in the remaining hotels is good only until these rooms sell out.
Contact me confidentially if you can’t afford to attend. We can help you. From all the committeemen and volunteers working on the centennial planning, I can relay that It Will Be Amazing!
Pat Scott ’76 ’79L
Centennial Celebration Chairman