For the first time since the 1950s, Miami University is host to the 2010 Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses (IMC) National Seminar.
Glee Club Director Ethan Sperry said 19 choruses are taking part in the seminar, including college, high school and adult clubs. The seminar is held every two years at a different location in the United States. Miami’s glee club has attended the past three seminars. This year’s seminar started Thursday and goes until Saturday.
“It’s a major chance for male choruses to hear each other,” Sperry said. “There are not a lot of us left.”
Sperry, who is also vice president of IMC, said conferences like this one have been around since 1914 and used to be more competitive.
“Now it’s a more collegial thing,” Sperry said. “But everyone still decides in their mind who’s best.”
Sperry did say it’s still a competitive process to be a part of the seminar. A panel of conductors from the previous seminar decides which clubs are included in the next seminar.
Sperry said a unique group participating this year is the Hamilton Police Male Chorus from Canada. They are celebrating their 50th anniversary and still have an original member singing.
Clayton Parr, director of choral activities at DePaul University (DU), said he’s eager to hear the Hamilton Police Male Chorus sing. Parr brought a small group of 12 singers to the IMC seminar. Before becoming the director at DU 11 years ago, Parr directed Miami’s own glee club for nine years.
“It feels like coming home,” Parr said, “because I lived here for nine years.”
Parr said the group of singers was arranged solely for this conference and he hopes they’ll want to continue singing after the conference ends.
Parr said he’s heard almost all the clubs sing before that are coming to the conference this year.
Parr hopes to eventually host an IMC conference at DU.
Sperry said the reaction from Miami glee club members at past IMC seminars has been positive. “They love the whole thing and get to see so many groups,” Sperry said. “Each group has its own twist. They are supportive but still a little competitive.”
Senior Nick Huebner, vice president of Miami’s glee club, attended the 2008 national seminar in Washington, D.C.
“It was cool to see the city and hear some of the best glee clubs in the country,” Huebner said. “It’s cool to meet people from other glee clubs that are very similar to you.”
During this year’s IMC seminar there will be five large performances and a headliner concert Friday and Saturday all at Millett Hall. There will also be panel discussions and reading sessions.
The process for hosting the seminar includes a 15-member board reviewing the submitted proposals. Sperry said Morehouse College (MC) is at the top of the list for the 2012 seminar. Sperry said the Miami club is most excited to perform with the MC glee club and said they are “cool but intimidating.”
Huebner said he and other executive members have been helping to finalize details for the conference such parking, catering and social events.
Huebner said Miami’s glee club has been preparing for this conference since the beginning of the fall 2009 semester.
“When guys are competing they are more likely to sing better,” Sperry said.
Sperry said seeing all the different groups of men come together offers different perspectives and ideas.
“We’re going to sound great,” Huebner said. “It’s an honor (to host the conference). A lot of credit goes to Ethan Sperry, he worked hard.