4 Rutgers glee choirs were chosen to participate in prestigious national conference

<p>The Rutgers University Glee Club was selected by the American Choral Directors Association to perform at their annual conference in Minnesota.</p>

The Rutgers University Glee Club was selected by the American Choral Directors Association to perform at their annual conference in Minnesota.

The Rutgers University Glee Club, an esteemed Rutgers choral group, was selected to perform at the American Choral Directors Association conference (ACDA), the premiere choral event of the season.

On March 9, the club performed at the national conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They were selected to perform out of hundreds of other choirs that submitted recordings.

ACDA is not technically a competition, said Glee Club Director of 24 years Dr. Patrick Gardner, it is simply a meeting of the organization which includes 22,000 members. 

About 5,000 of those members attended the event, which also included performances by more than 50 choirs. Glee Club was one of the esteemed choirs selected to perform, Gardner said.

“Groups are chosen by a system of evaluations after submitting recordings. The evaluations are done 'blind' — that is, the evaluation committees do not know which recording is being reviewed, so the judging is purely on the basis of the quality of the performances,” Gardner said.

In addition to the Rutgers University Glee Club, three other major choral groups at Rutgers were selected to perform. 

Gardner said this is great for Rutgers and the Mason Gross School of the Arts in many ways. 

“The appearance of one of our four major ensembles at this conference was of enormous importance for the Mason Gross School of the Arts and for Rutgers University," Gardner said. "As the most important academic conference in our field, simply being chosen provides great visibility for RU. The audiences included nearly all the major professors of choral music from around the country — the University of Michigan, Harvard, Princeton, University of North Texas, Florida State and hundreds more heard the performances."

The Glee Club had two performances, each with roughly 2,000 people in attendance, Gardner said. One of the performances took place in Orchestra Hall, the home of the Minnesota Orchestra, and the other was in Central Lutheran Church. Both were met with swift standing ovations, Gardner said.

“The first consideration is the quality of the performance. Only ensembles singing at the highest level are considered," he said. 

Gardner said Rutgers was likely selected because of the quality and difficulty of the group's repertoire. 

This extended beyond the music that the group is often associated with, he said. 

“While the Rutgers University Glee Club is known to many on campus for its performance of college songs, the greater musical community knows us for performing works by Schubert, Brahms, Shostakovich and Stravinsky at an extremely high level,” Gardner said. 

The Rutgers University Glee Club is one of the premiere choral organizations in the country, said Patrick VanBernum, a junior in the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and vice president for Special Organizational Affairs for the Glee Club.

“The high level of performance that we achieved came from years of building a standard of excellence in the group and every year we seem to be getting better and better. The ACDA is searching for groups that are constantly improving from year to year so we were a perfect fit,” VanBernum said.

VanBernum has been involved with the Glee Club since he was a first-year at Rutgers. He joined because he has been in choir since fifth grade and knew of the prowess of this particular organization even before he was accepted to the school, VanBernum said.

“One of my favorite aspects is the social atmosphere that is created. As a group, we are extremely committed to making sure everyone is comfortable being in the group and that every single member is enjoying his time in the ensemble,” VanBernum said. “I have talked to many prospective students that were considering joining the Glee Club and one of my favorite things to tell them is the fact the Glee Club is one of my favorite things to do in college.”

Editor's Note: The previous headline indicated that there are four Rutgers Glee Clubs. The headline has been updated to reflect that there are four choirs within the Glee Club that were invited to perform. The previous version of this article also indicated that the Glee Club's Director's name is Dr. Patrick Von Gardner, and has been updated to Dr. Patrick Gardner.

Zachary Peterson is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

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