Naperville Men’s Glee Club sings “You’ve Got A Friend in Me”
at Wentz Concert Hall as part of the “Spring Invitational Showcase 2013.”
On January 9, 1988, twenty-four men in balanced parts responded to a newspaper article, a few posters, and a couple of phone calls and found their way to the sanctuary of the Church of the Brethren for the first rehearsal of The Naperville Men’s Glee Club. The day before that first rehearsal, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 140.58 points, or 6.85%, to close at 1,911.31 in what was then thought of as a mini-crash. It was the same year that the Winter Olympics were held in Calgary and the Summer Games were in Seoul. George Herbert Walker Bush was elected president of our country. Sonny Bono was elected mayor of Palm Springs. Wembley Stadium hosted a concert in celebration of Nelson Mendela’s 70th birthday. The Cubs played their first ever night game at home in Wrigley Field. Super Mario Bros. 3 was released in Japan. Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Amidst these world’s events, men who enjoyed singing and were in varying stages of their lives gathered in Naperville to start a new choral group based on the fellowship and songs of a university men’s glee club. After singing the second song, there was a spontaneous moment when time seemed to stop to mark something special. They still have it.
Review NMGC’s performance history here.
In the ensuing years, they have sung with the students of many colleges and universities—the Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club was the first in 1991 and was followed by Purdue, University of Illinois, Miami University, Illinois State University, St. Olaf College, Notre Dame, and Penn State. They have combined with choral students from local School Districts 202, 203, and 204, giving them an opportunity to work with university and professional musicians through collaborative concerts. Many of the most prominently recognized choral musicians have worked with the Glee Club—Weston Nobel, Moses Hogan, Gregg Smith, Jackson Berkey, Barrington Coleman, Brian Breed, Chris Kiver, Barry Talley, William B. Olson, Clayton Parr, Rollo Dillworth, Ethan Sperry, Daniel Stowe, Jim Clancey, Robert Schultz, Ola Gjeilo, Peter Jarjisian, Jameson Marvin.
The NMGC started traveling in 1998 with a short trip to St. Louis. This was followed by a larger trip to New York City in 2000 to perform in the New York Choral Festival held at Lincoln Center. In 2003, they represented Illinois in the National Festival of the States in Washington D.C., performing a recital at Washington National Cathedral, the National Anthem on the grounds of the White House, and “Ave Maria” at Arlington National Cemetery. To celebrate their 20th Anniversary, the NMGC again represented Illinois in the Festival of the States, this time in Boston. Locally, they have given a concert at the Paramount Theatre and several venues in the Chicago area, including the acoustically acclaimed new Wentz Concert Hall on the campus of North Central College. They have performed twice for the Intercollegiate Male Choruses National Seminar—once at Purdue and once at Miami University.
In 2013, the Glee Club celebrated its 25th anniversary through a year of community service projects and concerts. In February, they sang in the Presidents Day Choral Festival at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D. C. While there, they also performed a recital at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Upon returning from Washington D. C., they undertook the NMGC Voices of Hope project involving over 100 area singers affected by cancer. The “NMGC Voices of Hope” chorus gave a fabulous concert to a capacity audience at Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville IL in May, 2013. The project was such a success, “NMGC Voices of Hope” was invited to perform again in September and they were part of the surprise at NMGC’s 25th Anniversary concert in October, 2013. The 25th Anniversary concert was an extraordinary event featuring the Varsity Men’s Glee Club from the University of Illinois, the world premier of “Soon One Day” (a vocal work commissioned for the 25th Anniversary) and the Glee Club conducted by Naperville Mayor George Pradel.
In 2014, they initiated a new project entitled the “NMGC Spring Invitational Showcase 2014“. This sell out concert featured area 106 area singers of all ages and it was emceed by The Infamints, a musical improve group in Chicago. Students from Waubonsie Valley High School, Metea Valley High School, and Naperville Central High School were among the singers participating.
After much encouragement from the first “NMGC Voices of Hope” participants, the reprise of this project occurred in 2015. “NMGC Voices of Hope 2015” was a smashing success and involved 95 area singers affected by cancer. Accompanied by a small orchestra, the “NMGC Voices of Hope” chorus gave a fabulous concert to a capacity audience at Wentz Concert Hall, Naperville IL in April, 2015.
In 2016, the NMGC introduced another new concert concept, “The American Heroes Concert“, on April 10, 2016 at Pfeiffer Hall, Naperville IL. Through song, pictures, poetry, and drama, they celebrated well known heroes and 8 “every day” heroes from the Naperville area. The MCL Allstars, the Youth Project from Brightside Theatre, and the Harmonia String Quartet were the guest artists.
NMGC is open to membership by audition. Interested men are encouraged to sit in on a rehearsal and arrange an audition with the director. For more information, visit the Join Us! page.
Through NMGC Conductor’s Circle, the Glee Club gratefully accepts individual and corporate contributions and is partially supported by visionary granting programs. NMGC is a registered 501(c)(3) and donations are used for concert expenses. Learn more about NMGC Conductor’s Circle on the Support Our Mission page, or contact Executive Director Paula Ball at email@example.com.
Reflecting its mission, the Glee Club also supports the Naperville community and promotes male choral music through performances at community events. General inquiries and performance requests should be directed to Artistic Director Bonnie Klee Roberts by phoning (630) 369-1164 or firstname.lastname@example.org.