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Until just a few weeks ago, it had been three years since the UNC Glee Club had gone on a multi-city tour. In January 2020, as the group toured the Southeast with a finale concert in Savannah, GA, no one could have predicted what the pandemic that would hit just two months later or the havoc it would wreak on the Glee Club’s long tradition of touring.

Choir members on risers at the front of the church while director Laura Alexander conducts and pianist Tommy Bastable accompanies.
The Glee Club Soprano/Alto at the Asheville performance, directed by Prof. Laura Alexander and accompanied by Tommy Bastable on piano. (Photo credit Vishal Kasula)

Still, while Covid-19 may have paused touring the Glee Club continued to flourish and enrich the lives of its students.

“Since I joined Glee Club, our performances and rehearsals have been my favorite part of the semester,” noted sophomore Kayla Shaver. “I feel like I always leave rehearsal smiling from ear to ear. It is the absolute best way for me to de-stress and do what I love.”

Kayla, a biology major who is also pursuing minors in chemistry and music, is part of the UNC Glee Club Soprano/Alto group and was thrilled when this year’s tour was announced. “Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to spend more time with the Glee Club, especially since I loved every piece of music in our program,” she remarked. “Furthermore, it was a wonderful experience to share this music with people across the state. I will always treasure this trip and it was the best way to end my winter break!”

The tour took the group across the western part of North Carolina with stops in Greensboro, Charlotte, and Asheville from January 4 – 6. They stayed with host families in Greensboro and Charlotte and then enjoyed lots of free time at the hotel they stayed in for their final stop in Asheville.

Director Laura Alexander noted that “the three concert venues were all beautiful and really unique acoustical spaces, so it was a delight to hear the groups adjust to the sound in each new space and deepen their understanding of the music as a result.”

The three venues, First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, and First Baptist Church in Asheville, provided the choir with new audiences along with exciting acoustical experiences. Learning to adjust to new acoustical experiences is vital to a musician’s ear training and performance practice as they develop their skills. It’s also just plain fun.

“While I thought every church was beautiful from top to bottom, I loved First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC. The sound in that church was absolutely wonderful,” raved Kayla. “However, a close second was Asheville as it is such an eclectic and lovely city to explore.”

We can’t wait to see where the group goes next!

by Catherine Zachary, B.Mus. 2010

UNC Glee Club Tenor/Basses perform at First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC.
UNC Glee Club Tenor/Basses rehearse for their performance at Providence UMC in Charlotte, NC. (Photo credit Kayla Shaver)
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