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The tour, the brotherhood, the memories
Singing Men of Ohio member reflects on Spring Tour  

Mar 30, 2009  
By Dan Glaser  

During spring break, members of the School of Music's men's choral group -- the Singing Men of Ohio -- embarked on their annual tour, performing in five cities in seven days. Senior Dan Glaser wrote this first-person account of the group's memorable experiences, which included an appearance on NBC's "Today Show."

It was early Saturday when our bus pulled away from Glidden Hall. Fifty of us from the Singing Men of Ohio, or SMO, were pumped to make our first tour stop. Cleveland had no idea what was heading its way.

Each year during spring break, we go on tour to share our motto of "Unity through Harmony" with audiences around the nation. This year, thanks to the brilliant planning of tour manager Brooks Jarosz, we performed at venues in Cleveland, Buffalo, N.Y., Boston, New York City and Pittsburgh. Throughout the trip, we achieved a level of performance that paled only in comparison to the atmosphere of brotherhood we were able to create.

As I reflect on the tour, a few highlights stick out in my mind. The first is our day in Boston. Upon arrival Monday, we had the opportunity to take in the city's Quincy Market for a few hours. While some of our group visited historic sites like Faneuil Hall, many of us went to sing the alma mater at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern, the very place Ohio University was first conceptualized in the late 18th century.

Later that evening, we performed at a reception for members of the Ohio University Boston Alumni Chapter. After our performance, we swapped stories of our favorite memories of Ohio University and many of the alumni encouraged us to contact them for career help in the future. To top off the evening, the president of the chapter announced they would donate the funds for SMO to record a new CD! I know the warm welcome we received in Boston serves as a representation of the kindness of Ohio University alumni the world over.

After the amazing time we had in Boston, we headed to New York City, where, once again, we were given time to explore the city in groups. Each group did something different with some going sightseeing, others shopping and some seeing a show. The variety this city offers gave each of us a unique story to tell that evening before our concert at The Church of St. Paul the Apostle.

The concert that evening was amazing and the acoustics in the building were unbelievable -- there was a seven-second delay in the echo of our sound! We were honored to sing in such an incredibly beautiful building and enjoyed meeting alumni in the Manhattan area as well.

The following morning we woke up beyond early to prepare for our hoped-for appearance on NBC's "Today Show." Trust me, waking up 50 college guys on spring break at four in the morning is no easy task.

Fortunately, not only did we all make it to the city that morning, we made it on air. The producer loved our song (a parody of "Coney Island Baby" with lyrics about the "Today Show" written by our director Peter Jarjisian) and made sure to get us on the show. Also, Matt Lauer, who was in his first day back after his shoulder injury, came out to the plaza to greet us and ask about his alma mater. Despite the cold weather and it being way too early in the morning, the stop was an unforgettable experience.

One final memory that comes to mind is from our concert in Pittsburgh at Ingomar United Methodist Church. At this point on tour, we had so many incredible performances and confidence in our sound that we couldn't wait to make this final concert our best. We performed for many familiar faces that had made the trip to see us including family, friends and the famous conductor Robert Page who taught Dr. Jarjisian at Temple University.

But the most memorable part of the concert was when our graduating student conductor Jake Young led us in song for the last time. He told us what an honor it had been to him to serve in that position, and that motivated us to make this the best concert we could. That evening, I couldn't help but sense an overwhelming feeling of brotherhood among all of us in the group.

The experiences and memories I have from this tour are unforgettable: the standing ovations from the crowds, the free-style rap battles heard on the bus, the exploration of a new city with your brothers at your side and the hilarious stories we told each other. Each year, these experiences not only make us laugh, they bring us closer as a group.

In addition to these wonderful memories, this year's SMO tour will always have a special place in my heart. The past few weeks in my life have been absolute craziness. At the beginning of March, my older brother Chris, who was my role model, adviser and closest friend, passed away. And while going on a tour with my fellow musicians wasn't easy, at a time in my life when I needed brotherhood the most, it was good to be reminded that I have 65 other brothers in SMO who will always stand by my side.



Related Links
Singing Men of Ohio: http://www.ohiou.edu/smo/ 
Watch a video clip of the SMO appearance on the "Today Show" (following this link takes you outside Ohio University's Web site):  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/29959427#29959427  

Published: Mar 30, 2009 11:54 AM  

The Singing Men of Ohio at the 'Today Show'  
Members of the Singing Men of Ohio braved the cold of New York City's Rockefeller Plaza to appear on the "Today Show" in their traditional green jackets.

Photographer: David R. Jeffries

Dan Glaser 
Dan Glaser


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