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Purdue University glee club brings hits to town

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What: Concert by the Purdue University Varsity Glee Club choral group

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: First Wayne Street United Methodist Church, 300 E. Wayne St.

Tickets: The show is sold out.

Four men from Fort Wayne are among the group's 60 members.

Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 12:01 am

Purdue University's ambassadors of song, the Purdue Varsity Glee Club, will present a musical program Sunday at First Wayne Street United Methodist Church. Proceeds will support the church's youth and young- adult ministries.

The dynamic ensemble, which has thrilled audiences across the state, the country and around the world, will present a repertoire that ranges from gospel, jazz, swing and contemporary music to romantic ballads, barbershop harmony, folk tunes, patriotic selections and novelty numbers. They will also showcase small groups specializing in a variety of popular music.

Among the 60 members are four Fort Wayne men:

• Junior Kyle Hoos, who is studying aeronautical and astronautical engineering, is the third in his family to perform with the glee club. He graduated from Northrop High School, where he participated in its show choir. He also sang with the Fort Wayne Children's Choir.

The son of Greg and Kathy Hoos, he says, “The glee club is more than a musical organization. It develops leadership and prepares us for life after college. It has been a great experience, and I've met a lot of interesting people all across the country.”

• Simon May, a junior majoring in advertising and sales marketing, says the glee club was one of the main reasons he chose Purdue. The Bishop Luers High School graduate participated in Luers' choral organizations. The son of Tom and Dianne May says it has been a pleasure to participate in a world-class musical organization. He is looking forward to the group's next international tour.

• Snider High School graduate Justin Heiges performed in his school's jazz, madrigal and chamber choir groups, and also chose Purdue because of the glee club. The sophomore accounting and management major is the son of Dan and Lori Heiges.

• Freshman Klint Dougherty, who is studying biology, is excited to be part of the glee club, which he had seen perform many times. The Snider graduate is the son of Kurt and Jill Dougherty.

Each of the Fort Wayne men, like all prospective glee club members, underwent an audition. Their vocal abilities were important, but their high school activities and leadership experiences also were taken into account. After being chosen, they received a packet of 70 pieces of music they were supposed to memorize, along with a supporting CD, the summer before starting at Purdue.

In addition, it included flashcards with pictures and background information on current members, which they also were supposed to learn.

They reported to school a week before classes started and spent two days learning the glee club traditions and expectations before joining the returning members at a nearby camp for a week of singing that concluded with a concert. Back in West Lafayette, they performed at two church services and the annual First Nighter, which is a full dress concert, during the first week of school.

Young men interested in auditioning can go to the glee club website at pmo and click on the audition section, fill out the form and indicate a convenient audition date; or call 1-800-893-3041 for information on the spring or summer auditions.

Purdue University offers no music degrees. Club members, just as students in other Purdue musical organizations, study a wide variety of majors.

The club, which is in its 115th year, takes its music throughout the state and across the nation, presenting nearly 200 performances a year. Members have performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, several presidential inaugurations in Washington, D.C., and internationally in Australia, China, South Africa, Europe and the United Kingdom.