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Men’s Chorus has long, rich history at University

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Men’s chorus performed Saturday, Nov. 15 in Olscamp 101 for faculty, residents and students.

Men’s Chorus’ fall tour ended Nov. 18 after seven performances at four Ohio high schools and three churches in Akron, Stryker and Findlay.

Men’s Chorus Director Tim Cloeter said the chorus’ sense of community is what makes them stand out.

“One of the reasons the chorus performs so well is that there is a real brotherhood among the members,” Cloeter said. “The ensemble understands that the social bonds between its members affects its music making.”

Men’s Chorus is open to all male students and more than half of its members are non-music majors.

The chorus performs on campus at least once each semester and multiple times off campus. It typically performs two concert tours each academic year; a shorter, regional fall tour and a longer, national spring tour. This spring the chorus will travel to New Orleans, singing at concerts in a number of cities along the way.

Men’s Chorus relies on fundraising to afford the charter bus and other expenses for their tours and concerts. They have two major fundraisers each year: a Dunk-a-Thon during the fall semester, and an annual banquet in the spring.

A nationally prestigious chorus from American Choral Directors Association and National Association for Music Educators conferences, the University Men’s Chorus has a rich history.

Men’s Chorus was founded in 1923 as the Men’s Glee Club, but the young touring ensemble disbanded during World War II. They reunited after the war under James Paul Kennedy and disbanded again in 1953. In 1971, Richard D. Mathey revived the group as the BGSU Men’s Chorus and established the strong tradition that still exists today. Mathey retired in 2000 after 28 years of directing the ensemble; William Skoog served until 2009 and Cloeter has directed the Chorus since then.

University and Men’s Chorus alumnus Brody McDonald, who graduated in 1997, said Men’s Chorus and Richard D. Mathey have inspired the rest of his life.

“The Men’s Chorus would not exist were it not for the efforts of R.D. Mathey, the greatest teacher, mentor and musician I have ever known,” McDonald said. “The Men’s Chorus was the single greatest experience of my college life. It helped forge my career path and led me to many life-long friendships.”

McDonald has created a successful career as the choir director for Kettering Fairmont High School. The school’s award-winning a cappella group, Eleventh Hour, was the first high school group to be featured on NBC’s The Sing-Off and ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The choir also wrote the book “A Cappella Pop: A Complete Guide to Contemporary A Cappella Singing.”

Men’s Chorus member Julian Gillilan said he enjoyed his time in the chorus.

“These are some of the best experiences of my collegiate career,” Gillilan said. “We accomplish so much through a school year … we sing the same music through the entire year and at the end of the year, we sound astounding.”

Cloeter said students can audition for the BGSU Men’s Chorus during the first week of the fall semester and in the last week of the fall and spring semesters. For more information about auditions, visit www.bgsumenschorus.com. Interested students are urged to contact Cloeter at [email protected].

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