A very ‘Glee’ful Christmas



“We need Christmas now,” sang the Varsity Men’s Glee Club as the stage behind them lit up in shades of green and red. The 38th Annual UNI Varsity Men’s Glee Club Christmas Variety show opened with the songs “We Need a Little Christmas” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.

The UNI Men’s Varsity Glee Club performed a number of traditional choral pieces and a few non-traditional songs from other countries such as Iceland.

Throughout the show, the UNI Panther Palms were interpreting with sign language. This added tradition started with the 2014 Christmas Variety show, as the show director, John Len Wiles, realized that Glee Club talents were not reaching the deaf community, as stated in the show program.

During their performance of “Gaudete!”, arranged by Michael Engelhardt, Enrique Tovar, senior physics major, used his beatboxing skills to liven up the a capella performance.

The Men’s Camerata performed twice. The music group is an audition-based, student led division of the Varsity Men’s Glee Club and it started in 2006, according to the show program. They have performed locally, as well as internationally.

The Glee Club shared the stage with the West African Drum Ensemble in performing “Betelehemu”. The performance featured a variety of drums, and shout singing, as Glee Club members ran from on and off the stage.

Halfway through the song, a majority of the Glee Club members ran off stage, later showing up along the aisles of Gallagher Bluedorn singing to treat the audience to a real ‘front row’ experience. They finished the performance on stage and were met with a thunderous applause.

“With great fear and trepidation,” emcee Paul Marlow, introduced the play, “Little Shop of Christmas”, written by Jacob Ferguson, senior English major, and Clark Jackley, sophomore English major.

The play featured appearances from a variety of different holiday and pop culture figures such as Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Charlie Brown, Doc Brown and even Batman. The story was narrated by a character from the television series “Parks and Recreation”, Ron Swanson, played by Colby Campbell, senior general music studies major.

The play was about Charlie Brown trying to experience the feeling of the holidays, when he is suddenly the new owner of a talking Christmas tree. Little did Charlie know that the tree was accidentally sent to him, and it was a naughty tree from the North Pole that stole Christmas spirit.

The Christmas tree proceeds to trick Charlie, Doc Brown, Marty and Batman into helping him steal Christmas spirit throughout time.

As the evil Christmas tree takes the Delorean to the present, Santa Claus catches up in time to save the 38th Annual Men’s Glee Club Variety Show from being robbed of its holiday spirit.

An epic battle scene played out to save the Christmas spirit, including Glee Club members being possessed by the evil tree. The show ends with Charlie Brown learning the real meaning of the holidays from Batman, and the entire cast signed and said “Merry Christmas” to the audience.

After a brief intermission, the Glee Club was joined by over 100 alumni, according to Wiles. They all held candles and passed the flames down the row until the stage was lit by candlelight. They performed two songs together, including, “The First Noel.”

As the alumni filtered out after the song, Santa came back on stage to visit the children in the audience to ask what they’d like for Christmas. One little boy asked Santa for a UNI hat, gaining much support from the audience.

Following Santa’s visit, the Glee Club performed, “If You Love Him”, featuring a gospel performance from Sharrie Phillips-Wright and her band.

“I just think it is an awesome performing opportunity,” said Phillips-Wright. “I always love working with the Glee Club.”

After, a performance of “Ave Maria” was given in dedication to those who have experienced grief over this semester, with the emphasis that music can bring people together.

UNITUBA then took the stage to perform “White Christmas” and “Jingle Bells”. UNITUBA is one of the oldest tuba and euphonium ensembles in the world, according to the program.

The Glee Club performed one final song, then cleared out the stage for a performance by the Arthur Murder Dancers.

The Arthur Murder Dancers have been a part of UNI Glee Club traditions since 1978, according to the program. This year, they performed “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” and “Christmas Can-Can”. Complete with tank tops and pink tutus, the Glee Club men entertained the crowd with their ballet skills. Finally, all of the Glee Club returned to the stage to wave a final goodbye to the audience, concluding the show.

Some of the performers commented on the success of the show.

“We had quite a bit of energy for an afternoon showing. It really is the most wonderful time of the year,” said Randy Wells, senior composition major and three-time Glee Club Variety Show performer.

“It was really great to see all the pieces go together,” said Samantha Lennon, junior psychology major and part of the Orchesis Dance Company.

UNI’s Varsity Men’s Glee Club will continue to tour, and will be going to Iceland and Norway over the summer. They look forward to keeping the Variety Show tradition going, with their motto being, “Brothers, Sing On!”