Singing Men of Ohio goes (Mid)West
Annual tour features stops in Chicago, Toledo and Indianapolis
Mar 16, 2010
By Tony Sylvester
Ohio University's Singing Men of Ohio (SMO) is preparing to head west for its annual spring break tour to perform for family, friends and alumni.
After wrapping up their annual alumni concert over the weekend, the ensemble will take its talents on the road, March 19-25.
The anticipation for the tour this year is particularly high because this is the first time in many years that the group will travel west.
"In recent memory, SMO has not been west," said Dan Glaser, a senior communication studies major and this year's tour manager. "The general consensus at the beginning of this year was that we should plan a tour headlining in Chicago."
The tour comprises 11 performances in five cities over seven days. Forty-five of the more than 65 ensemble members will depart Athens at 6 a.m. March 19.
The group's first stop is Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where it will perform at the Intercollegiate Men's Choruses (IMC) Seminar, March 19-20. The event includes 19 other men's choruses. As the first destination, this allows the men to share and see the talents of other choruses throughout the country.
"I?m really looking forward to the concert at Miami (University) because a whole bunch of men's glee clubs are coming together. It'll be interesting to not have to sing the whole time," said Stephen Moen, a junior integrated language arts major.
After a March 21 performance in Indianapolis, SMO will perform in the Chicago area, March 22-23. This stop includes two performances in Naperville, a suburb about an hour west of Chicago.
On March 23, SMO will perform on March 23 at the Bronzeville Lighthouse Academies, an art-based charter school that supports underprivileged children from low-income families and helps them realize their potential attend college.
"We're hoping this will be an opportunity for us to share something we all love with people and make a lasting impact on students who normally wouldn't have the opportunity to hear it," Glaser said.
Spreading the art of music to younger music students is a passion for the men.
"Sometimes we'll go to a high school and work with the choir there," said Nick Campagna, a senior music education major and SMO president. "We'll show them how our rehearsals run and sing a song with them. We just want to show them what a college choir is like."
The final performance in the Chicago area will be shared with the Naperville Men's Glee Club. The event is intended to draw SMO alumni to see the performance and to attend an alumni reception afterward.
Finally, the group returns to Ohio to perform in Toledo (March 24) and Cincinnati (March 25). In Toledo, the group will have the opportunity to perform the piece ?I Have Seen? for composer Luke Rosen, who wrote the piece for SMO alumnus Brooks Jarosz. Rosen chose The Singing Men of Ohio to debut his work.
The SMO tour is the place where friendships form and brotherhood solidifies. The group lives by its motto ?Unity through Harmony.? Members not only blend their vocals but also their personalities.
"Tour is when it all comes together for the group. It isn't until tour that most of us really begin to feel our strongest connection to the group," Glaser said. "The hours spent on the bus, in the hotel rooms, performing in new places and exploring cities with your brothers at your side is where the real SMO brotherhood is formed."
To professors and music educators, the tour can do more than promote harmony and unity among its members.
"Touring is what choirs tend to do. It allows them to represent their schools well," said Peter Jarjisian, director of choral studies for the School of Music and SMO director. "For the students, it allows them to experience music's growth as a result of the several performances of the same repertoire. They realize a sense of artistic growth beyond what they could have imagined."
The Singing Men of Ohio is a group of undergraduate and graduate students that represent all colleges across the university. The student organization is a performing ensemble within the School of Music.
Published: Mar 16, 2010 10:00 AM