A Gleeful Christmas

Santa stands on stage in the GBPAC. He was one of several guest performers to join the Christmas variety show.

KATIE BAUGHMAN, Campus Life Editor

Christopher Walken, Dora the Explorer, Batman and other famous figures performed, along with various UNI groups, on the GBPAC stage this weekend. The Varsity Men’s Glee Club kicked off the holiday season with their 39th annual Christmas Variety Show.

The Glee Club is a non-auditioned, men’s choral ensemble that has been an organization on campus since 1960 and is currently under the direction of John L. Wiles, associate professor of choral conducting.

The show consisted of traditional Christmas songs, Glee Club favorite tunes, a play called “A Very Goonies Christmas” and even an appearance from Santa Claus, who interacted with a few children in the audience at each of the three shows.

This ticketed event was worth the price, according to some in attendence. The Glee Club ran onto the stage from behind the audience, shouting, clapping and high fiving each other to set the mood for the rest of the show.

One of the highlights of the matinee show on Saturday afternoon was a marriage proposal by Glee Club member Nick Vanderah. Santa pulled his fiancé-to-be, Lauren Vickers, up onto the stage to ask her what she wanted for Christmas, to which she replied that she wanted “to spend Christmas with the love of her life.” Vanderah took that opportunity to propose on stage, to which the crowd exploded with cheers of excitement for the newly engaged couple.

The songs were a mix between traditional holiday songs like “Ave Maria” and upbeat, amusing songs such as “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.” Between these group songs were other acts, one featuring instruments like the mandolin, guitar, ukulele and tambourine. Josh Burk, Alec Walker and Will Lubaroff pulled the ensemble together, singing “White Winter Hymnal.”

Orchesis, a long time UNI dance company, tap danced and wooed the audience while performing to the song “All I want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey. UNITUBA, a musical ensemble comprised of solely tuba players, performed “Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo 12/24.”

The SingPins, an acapella group consisting of Glee Club members, made their debut on the Christmas Variety show stage as well.

The Variety Show’s annual play consisted of the usual shenanigans; it was written by Clark Jackey and AJ Royer and narrated by Deadpool, a protagonist from the Marvel movie of the same name released in February.

The play told the story of Glee Club members trying to save the club from being bought out by famous figures such as Batman, Matthew McCoughnagey, Tom Cruise and more. Dora the Explorer and her trusty map led them through various adventures leading to the best music of all in hopes that it will save the day.

In true Glee Club Variety Show fashion, the audience was encouraged to “boo” and “hiss” when the villains took stage and Dora’s jokes caused uproaring laughter throughout the play.

Freshman deciding major Haley Bunnell, stated “It was a nice comedic break in between songs and it showed the personalities of the Glee Club members rather than just watching them sing.”

The show concluded with a humorous performance by The Arthur Murder Dancers, a portion of men in the Glee Club, decked out in white tank tops and pink tutus. The dancers frolicked and spun in elaborate circle formations to “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.” Once the rest of the Glee Club joined them on stage, they proudly sang out the UNI Fight Song as the audience rose in a standing ovation.

Mitch Leonard, junior communication public relations and interactive digital studies double major and Glee Club member, enjoyed the atmosphere and experience the show provides for audience members.

“For two and a half hours, students forget about finals week quickly approaching and adults forget about the stress of work,” Leonard said. “[They] have the same excitement for Christmas as they did when they were 12 years old.”

“It exceeded my already high expectations because it was more than just people singing on stage,” said Kimberly Skoog, freshman digital media production major. “It was funny, exhilarating and really got me in the Christmas spirit.”

Sarah Ritondale contributed to this article.