Expanding the choir
Female voices herald a new day for the venerable Case Men’s Glee Club
There’s nothing in the bylaws that says members of the Case Men’s Glee Club must be men. That’s allowed an historic choir to add new voices and elevate a popular tenor to the presidency.
Christine Pan, a fourth year computer science and music double major, is the first female president of the Case Men’s Glee Club in 124 years. This fall she assumed the leadership of the oldest active student organization at Case Western Reserve University.
As she staffed the Glee Club’s table at the annual Student Activities Fair August 23, Pan took her pioneering status in stride. She’s well aware of the club’s history, but she’s eager to talk about its members and how much they love to sing.
“I sang tenor in high school” in Parsippany, New Jersey, she explained. “I thought this would be a really good group to join and it has been. I just fell in love with the glee club.”
Founded at the Case School of Applied Science in 1897, the Case Men’s Glee Club became one of a small number of collegiate glee clubs to tour domestically and abroad. Its tradition of barbershop-style harmonies and popular music successfully spanned the generations. In 2018, the club became an academic ensemble within the Department of Music.
In fall 2019, Pan nervously approached an open rehearsal. Not knowing anyone, she took along a female friend. They need not have worried, she said. Both were warmly welcomed and enthralled.
“It was instantaneous,” she said. “That first rehearsal, I was like, ‘This is it. This is amazing.’”
She served as the club’s publicity manager and then as its business manager before members this year voted her president.
There are several other women in the choir, including two more on the executive board—business manager Ruth Cavano and publicity manager Adaeze Izuegbunam–and likely more to come.
“The club has been trying to become more diverse,” said Gavin O’Keefe, the club’s treasurer. “We’re welcoming of anyone who loves to sing and who wants to be a member.”
The Case Men’s Glee Club is scheduled to perform its fall concert Nov. 5. Look for details at www.caseglee.com.