Hello! My name is Will Cunningham, and I am a freshman in the Glee Club.
We just got back from an incredible Spring Tour, and I wanted to write a post about what that tour was like! I’ve always been a math fan, so I thought I’d start out this post going over a few of the numbers from tour. 45 Glee Club members went on tour for 8 days and sang 8 concerts, each with a repertoire that spanned over 450 years of history. We covered 5 states on our tour, took 2 flights, spent 34 hours riding buses, and covered a distance of 4,899 miles. We got to experience a high temperature of 95, drove a coach bus through 1 alfalfa field (twice), and climbed 1 mountain. It was quite the week.
Tour started off on the early morning of Saturday, March 11, the first day of Spring Break. The men of the Glee Club packed their bags, met at the bookstore, and loaded a bus that would take them to Midway Airport. It was quite cold, but we didn’t mind, for we would soon be in Texas, finally free from the chill of March in South Bend. We would be in a state in which, as we were promised by our tour managers Carlos and Walker, both of whom are from Texas, there would be plenty of Tex-Mex, cowboy boots, and most importantly, sun.
When we arrived in Houston to find that it was in the low 50’s, raining, and windy, we naturally were upset with Carlos and Walker, who had neglected to call ahead and notify the weather authorities that we would be arriving. Fortunately, though, this weather wasn’t to last, and from the next day onward, we had nothing but blue skies.
Our first stop upon arriving in Houston was the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Since it was a Saturday morning, there wasn’t a rodeo going on, but a few of us were fortunate enough to stumble upon an event whose level of excitement far surpassed any rodeo. I believe it was called “Mutton Bustin’,” and it was an event where small children were placed on the back of a sheep and tried and hold on for as long as possible while the sheep ran about 25 yards down the pen, like shorter, shaggy, quadruped, Usain Bolt’s. It was truly a sight to behold.
After a few hours at the Rodeo, we drove to our concert venue, which this first evening was at Strake Jesuit high school. We rehearsed in their auditorium for about an hour, then had a great first dinner of fajitas, catered from a local Tex-Mex restaurant. After that, we changed into our concert attire, a black button down shirt and black pants, which, considering the climate, was a welcome alternative to our traditional attire of a tuxedo with tails, bow tie, and gloves. After the concert was over, the whole group met in the lobby outside the auditorium to be paired with our “homestays,” local residents who volunteered to host a singer or two at their house for the night.
This was the typical format for each day of tour—the morning would consist of travel, some free time the city, then rehearsal, dinner, etc. The length of our drive determined how long we got to spend each city, so in between our Dallas and Fort Worth concerts, we had time to explore Dallas, get some breakfast, and ride the trolleys. A lot of people went to the Federal Reserve, and I even got to play some chess with Joseph Cozzi. We later toured the 6th Floor Museum, which is located inside the building from which JFK was assassinated.
Fast forwarding through the week, we had such a great turnout in Hobbs, New Mexico, that they ran out of tickets! After crunching the numbers, I found that 1.38 out of every 100 people in Hobbs was at our show. On Friday, March 17, we had our best turnout of the whole week at our concert in Tucson, and what’s more, the whole audience decided to color coordinate—nearly every audience member wore green in support of the Notre Dame basketball team! I’m certain that’s the only reason why.
To top off the week, in Phoenix, AZ the next day, to make up for the Irish’s disappointing loss to West Virginia that morning, we had the chance to go hiking! We were not without casualties—Chris McDonald and I both slipped on the way down and got a few scrapes, and I’m pretty sure there was some minor dehydration among many members of the group. However, the hike wasn’t this taxing for all of our members; Tim Good, known also as “The Bear Grylls of the Notre Dame Glee Club,” made it all the way up and back down in a pair of Nike flip flops. It also came as no surprise to us that Walker Embrey, our future U.S. Navy Submarine Officer, was by far the most prepared for the hike. It was 95 F that day (15 degrees higher than the Phoenix average for this time of year), and due to the heat, most members, including myself, ran out of water and Gatorade within the first 30 minutes. Walker, however, rationed himself and was still hydrating even at the summit.
This tour was many things, but it was not what you might call “restful.” We left early Saturday morning, and didn’t arrive back on campus until around 12:30AM on Monday morning a week later. However, as Dan, our director, often says at our tour concerts, we “gave up” our spring break in order to share the gift of song with each of our audiences, and to share in fellowship with one-another. We were all glad to do so!
Our final time performing this specific concert set will be this Friday, March 31st, at 8:00PM at the Debartolo Performing Arts Center. Under Dan’s guidance and direction, we have poured so much into these pieces, and we love nothing more than being able to share the fruit of our joyful labors, the gift of song, with you.
Will Cunningham is a freshman living in Keough Hall studying Mechanical Engineering. He is originally from Zionsville, IN, and spends most of his free time attempting to convince friends that it is not just a suburb of Indianapolis.