The Department of Performing Arts will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Clemson University Men’s Choir at its upcoming concert on Thursday, November 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Brooks Center. Established in 1896 by engineering Professor Walter Riggs as the Clemson College’s Glee Club, the group has the distinction of being the oldest musical organization in campus history.
Thursday’s concert will include a revival of Still, Still with Thee, a piece performed by the original choir at their first public concert on December 19, 1896. Giving a solo during the number will be Lee D. Jackson, tenor, who has been an active member of the Men’s Choir for all 11 semesters of his Clemson experience as an undergraduate and graduate student. “It really is like a family,” said Jackson. “When this choir was started well over a century ago, I imagine they didn’t know that we would still be singing all these years later. I’m sure they would be proud of the camaraderie we share as Clemson Tigers and members of the Men’s Choir.”
Now known as the Clemson University Men’s Choir, the non-auditioned ensemble is made up of 35-40 singers, welcoming students of all majors and experience levels to take part in their unique brotherhood. “The choir is made of men from all different backgrounds to make beautiful music together, and we have fun while doing it,” said Jackson. In addition to several appearances in the Brooks Center each year, the students also travel to unique destinations and collaborate with other talented artists. A recent mountain-top experience for the choir was singing Biebl’s Ave Maria alongside the world-renowned a cappella ensemble Cantus, as part of the Utsey Chamber Music Series.
“It is humbling to conduct an ensemble with such a long-lasting tradition,” said Anthony Bernarducci, Director of Choral and Vocal Studies. “We try to keep that at the forefront of our minds, realizing that this choir is not about any one member, but rather continuing the legacy to ensure it is there for generations of Tigers to come.” Thursday’s concert will also include the world premiere of When in Our Music God is Glorified, a work composed in honor of the 125th anniversary, which features choir member and performing arts major Mac McCrary on trumpet. At the conclusion of the program, all Men’s Choir alumni will be invited to join on stage for the traditional singing of the Clemson University Alma Mater.
Tickets to the concert are available at clemson.edu/brooks and cost $10 for adults and $5 for students and children. The concert will also feature the Clemson University Women’s Choir. The community is encouraged to come support these talented student singers, as this marks their first live performance in nearly two years.
“I am honored to work with these fine men, and I look forward to celebrating this milestone,” said Bernarducci. “We are proud to be a part of the legacy, and honored to continue it for future generations.”
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