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After a century and a half, Penn’s oldest performing arts group is still going strong.

BY MOLLY PETRILLA


They’re calling this the “Year of Glee.”

The term has been used to end emails and to start conversations. It’s one of the first things their director will mention when you meet him, and there it is just above the official Penn Glee Club coat of arms and the words Celebrating 150 Years on their website page linking to a list of events marking that significant milestone. During 2011-2012 Penn’s all-male Glee Club has ambitious plans to celebrate its past successes, uncover more of its extensive history, and reconnect with long-lost alums.

But tonight, with the opening of their fall show fast approaching, they just want to practice their boy-band medley.

Scott Ventre EAS’13, a spirited high tenor, demonstrates the heads-down move that will end the number. They’ve re-appropriated the millennial classic “It’s Gonna Be Me” from ’N Sync, turning it into “It’s Gonna Be Glee,” and Ventre wants to see all heads snap down on the word glee. The 30 or so guys on stage practice the move with varying levels of ease, simultaneously hitting their harmonies.

As the head snapping continues, Glee Club Director C. Erik Nordgren Gr’01 steps in with a request of his own: “I’m still not hearing the gl- when you sing glee,” he says. “Explode the gl-.” Gl-s explode accordingly.

Clad in T-shirts, many of them advertising the show for which they’re rehearsing, the guys run the medley again. Voices high and low blend into a single, strong chorus, filling the empty theater that in two days will hold a sold-out crowd:



Don’t you know it’s true?

We sing and dance for you.

Not gonna lose pitch,

’Cause we’re not like that …



Baby, when you finally

Get to love somebody

Guess what?

It’s gonna be Glee.



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From top: Three Pennce—David Vaughn C’76, David Klipp, and Gene Schneyer C’75—perform “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” In 1976, the Glee Club toured Pennsylvania in the “graffiti bus,” a SEPTA loaner they had to repaint before returning. Guys & Balls: A Football Musical, Spring 2011.

 

 


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