Special Recitals
(since 2008)

The Club serves the community by performing at senior centers, veterans' gatherings, and other special events. 

 
July 6, 2015; June 16, 2014: For the second consecutive year, the Club sang "Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby" and the National Anthem before an appreciative crowd at the Brooklyn Cyclones game at MCU Park in Coney Island.
April 5, 2014:  The Club performed at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Midtown East, presenting a preview of the spring 2014 concert program.

Also performing were the Caldwell College Choir and the Good Shepherd Singers. The concert was a joint fundraising event for the church and MGC.
March 24, 2014, March 23, 2013, March 24, 2012 (also March 26, 2011 and March 27, 2010): For the fifth consecutive year, the men of Mendelssohn participated in commemorative ceremonies on Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day in downtown Manhattan, which included a reading of the names of the fallen. Club members sang "This Is My Country," "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" under the baton of Maestro Gene Wisoff and accompanied by pianist Sasha Akulich.
December 6, 2013, December 5, 2012:  For the second consecutive year, the Club regaled members of the New York Athletic Club on Central Park South with holiday music.
November 22, 2013: A St. Cecilia's Day celebration to benefit the Church Club of New York and MGC was held at the Church of the Ascension on lower Fifth Avenue. The guest artist was Metropolitan Opera tenor Barry Banks. The Club presented a preview of its winter holiday concert and a reception followed.
October 21, 2012: 
The Club performed  "Soldiers' Chorus" from Faust at the Petros Cultural Center of St. Demetrios Cathedral in Astoria, Queens. The gala of opera and ballet was presented under the auspices of the Hellenic Music Foundation and the Hellenic Orthodox Community of Astoria.

Also participating were the Hellenic Music Foundation Orchestra, the Frank Sinatra School of  the Arts Symphony Orchestra, and dancers from Queensboro Community College.
September 10, 2011: MGC performed to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 at the Seuffert Bandshell in Forest Park, Queens. Appearing with the Club was the 319th Statue of Liberty Band (U.S.Army). The highlight of the program was Randall Thompson's Testament of Freedom, whose words are drawn from the writings of Thomas Jefferson. The Club appeared under the auspices of the September Concert Foundation, which -- every year since 2002 -- has been promoting free musical performances globally, for the cause of peace and humanity, that take place on or around September 11.

December 24, 2010: At midday on a bright but cold Christmas Eve, more than twenty Mendelssohn members performed at Rockefeller Center to help spur donations for the Salvation Army.  

Accompanied by keyboardist Bob Wilson and led by Conductor Gene Wisoff, the men of MGC joined in singing carols and seasonal songs at the busy edge of Fifth Avenue. Among selections presented were "Winter Wonderland," "White Christmas," and "The Salvation Army Band Song," the original composition by Club member Jon Pohlmann.

November 11, 2010: For the fourth consecutive year, Club members participated in NYC's Veterans Day Parade (this year 26,000 marched), vocalizing on the Vietnam Veterans of America (Chapter 126) float as it proceeded up Fifth Avenue. The parade was telecast to military bases and ships all around the world.

April 18, 2010: MGC presented a preview of its annual spring concert in Somerville, New Jersey. The performance, at the United Reformed Church, was a benefit for Habitat for Humanity.

November 11, 2009: For the third time, Club members were a "moving" part of NYC's Veterans Day Parade, vocalizing on the Vietnam Veterans of America (Chapter 126) float as it proceeded up Fifth Avenue. They sang, among other pieces, our national anthem and, in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, the "Irish Blessing."
June 6, 2009: Club members sang with the Mendelssohn Club of Albany in a free concert celebrating Felix Mendelssohn's 200th birthday. The concert was held at Union College Chapel in Schenectady, New York.
May 4, 2009: The Club presented a preview of its annual spring concert at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Hartsdale, New York.
November 29, 2008: The Club made its fourth appearance at the Isabella Geriatric Center on the Upper West Side, presenting a preview of the winter 2008 concert.
November 11, 2008: Members of MGC again took part in NYC's Veterans Day Parade up Fifth Avenue, vocalizing on the Vietnam Veterans of America (Chapter 126) float.
November 4, 2008: MGC singers participated in a ceremony for the dedication of the renovated interfaith chapel at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx. Tenor Kelly-Ray Meritt, who is also one of the VA chaplains, performed with the Club.
January 26, 2008:
Members sang in a concert presented by N.Y. Citi Theatre and Media, a performance space in the Bronx that presents   music, theater, dance, and  other productions by and for the community.


   

 
 
The Mendelssohn Glee Club has presented at least two concerts a year since its founding in 1866. September 2015 marks the beginning of the Club's 150th season.

Listed below are highlights from performances since 2009 (recent concerts are listed first). Benefit recitals and special performances are noted in the column at left.
 
 

2015 Annual Spring Concert
(second performance of 149th season)

Date: Tuesday evening, May 12
Location:
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 West 68th Street
Guest artist: pianist Alexandra Akulich
 

Program highlights

The Club's sixteen spring concert numbers had a resoundingly American theme. Five pieces marked the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. The program included compositions by Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland but above all was a tribute to Pete Seeger, the iconic pioneer of American folk music and prominent social activist and environmentalist who died at age 94 in January of 2014.

Mendelssohn did "Riversong," a Celtic-inspired piece by Roger Emerson, and "Rhythm and Rhyme," by former Club member Jon Pohlman. 

From Pete Seeger, the audience were treated to "Where Have All the Flowers Gone"; "Turn! Turn! Turn!," written by Seeger in the late 1950s; and "If I Had a Hammer," composed with Lee Hayes in 1949 and popularized by Peter, Paul, and Mary. There was also a rendition of "The Stairway," composed in 1998 by Leonard Lehrman as "a round for Pete Seeger." 

MGC also performed Robert Decormier's arrangement of "Rainbow Round My Shoulder," a modern dance classic written by Donald McKayle (and sung by Al Jolson in the film The Singing Fool). A stirring gospel number was Andrae Crouch's "Soon and Very Soon." From West Side Story came Bernstein's boisterous "Gee, Officer Krupke," with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and the men of Mendelssohn did a children's song by Aaron Copland, "I Bought Me a Cat." 

Selections reflecting the Civil War period included "Oh Captain, My Captain," a musical version of Walt Whitman's famed 1965 poem about the death of Abraham Lincoln; "Lorena," a popular song of the Confederacy; and Vicki T. Courtney's "Battle Above the Clouds," about a Civil War conflict, with a text by John Parker. 

The concert included the two Civil War classics, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again," arranged by George Mead, and the ever enduring "Battle Hymn of the Republic,” whose immortal words (first published in 1863 in The Atlantic Monthly) were written by Julia Ward Howe. And from classic to classical, Mendelssohn performed the Dies Irae from Mozart's Requiem.

Guest artist pianist Alexandra Akulich performed works by Scriabin, Brahms, Gershwin, Bizet, Busoni, and Horowitz.

 
 

2014 Annual Winter Holiday Concert
(first performance of 149th season)

Date: Tuesday evening, December 9; 7:30 pm
Location:
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 West 68th Street
Guest artist: soprano April Martin
 

Program highlights

Mendelssohn’s program featured 17 varied selections, culminating in seasonal wintry but heartwarming holiday numbers.

To mark the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth, the performance showcased four pieces about or having words by the Bard of Avon. There were also two songs by Richard Strauss, along with touches of patriotic fanfare to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I.

From the 1948 Broadway show Kiss Me, Kate, Cole Porter’s clever and lively “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” extols the virtues of being able to quote the Bard to win over the fair sex. The lyrics of “Sigh No More, Ladies” are drawn from Much Ado About Nothing, and those for “It Was a Lover and His Lass” and “How Like a Winter” are also lyric-wise Shakespearean.

From Richard Strauss, the Club sang “Zueignung” and “Traum Durch die Dämmerung.” George M. Cohan’s stirring “Over There” (1917) was on the program, as was Irving Berlin’s immortal “God Bless America,” written by Berlin in 1918 and revised by him in 1938.

As for holiday fare, the men of Mendelssohn  sang the Hanukkah classic “Mi Yamallel”; Ralph Blane’s “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” memorably rendered by Judy Garland in the 1944 movie Meet Me in St. Louis; and, from the 1966 Broadway show Mame, Jerry Herman’s “We Need a Little Christmas.”

 
 

2014 Annual Spring Concert
(second performance of 148th season)

Date: Tuesday evening, May 13; 7:30 pm
Location:
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 West 68th Street
Guest artist: French mezzo-soprano Anna Cley
 

Program highlights

Consisting of sixteen varied works, the spring concert program ranged from a Renaissance madrigal and American folk song to a touch of Gilbert and Sullivan and a jazz classic and no fewer than five other pieces sung by the Club for the first time.

MGC opened with the 1595 madrigal “Now Is the Month of Maying,” by Thomas Morley, a piece replete with naughty double meanings. Richard Nance’s “Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now,” part of Six Songs from a Shropshire Lad, is based on the poetry of A. E. Hausman and was a premiere performance for the Club. 

Other first-time offerings by the men of Mendelssohn were Allist MacGillivray’s modern ballad “Away from the Roll of the Sea”; a traditional spiritual, “Goin’ Up to Glory,” based on a field-holler work song; the 1956 comic country novelty song “The Auctioneer,” by Leroy Van Dyke and Buddy Black; and Amy F. Bernon’s lovely ballad “Come In from the Firefly Darkness.”

MGC did its rendition of Harry Warren and Al Dubin’s “Lulu’s Back in Town,” from the 1935 musical Broadway Gondolier. The song has been covered by performers from Basin Street to Sesame Street, including Fats Waller and Mel Tormé.

Also on the program was the 19th-century folk song  (and unofficial national anthem of Australia) “Waltzing Matilda”; the strongly marchlike “With Catlike Tread,” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance; Billy Joel’s plaintive reflection on a doomed romance “And So It Goes”; and Franz Liszt’s arrangement of Schubert’s lied “The Omnipotence” (“Die Allmacht”).

From the realm of jazz classics, the Club performed Victor Young’s romantic ballad “Stella By Starlight,” from the 1944 film The Uninvited (with lyrics, written in 1946, by Ned Washington)—a song that has been recorded by Charlie Parker, Ray Charles, Stan Getz, Nat King Cole, Harry James, Frank Sinatra, and Miles Davis among dozens of other artists.

 
 

2013 Winter Holiday Concert
(first performance of 148th season)

Date: Tuesday evening, December 10; 7:30 pm
Location:
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 West 68th Street
Guest artist: soprano Yungee Rhie

program highlights

The Club’s program ranged from the romantic to the bouncy and rhythmic and from an Italian Christmas carol sung in English and a Welsh carol to a Christmas spiritual. There was also  a touch of Gilbert and Sullivan. But the emphasis was definitely on holiday fare, both classically beautiful and warm-as-chestnuts sentimental.

“When I Was One and Twenty," a mock dramatic piece, was composed by Richard Nance and based on the poem by A. E. Hausman. MGC paid tribute to two women: “Sylvia,” a richly harmonious love song by Oley Speaks, a composer and in the 1930s a member of MGC; and, based on text in Shakespeare’s The Tempest with additional lyrics by Ruth Morris Gray, the humorous and rousing sea-chantey-style “Kate.”   Also on the program was Gilbert and Sullivan's “Chorus of Peers” from Iolanthe

Among the ten holiday pieces performed by the men of Mendelssohn were Praetorius’s sweet “Lo! How a Rose E’er Blooming,” J. S. Bach’s immortal chorale “Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light,” and Piero Yon’s “Jesu Bambino” – with a melody perhaps more familiar to most people as “O Come Let Us Adore Him,” which featured a soprano solo. The spirit of Hanukkah was represented by the lively, tango-like Ladino classic “Ocho Kandelikas” (“Eight Little Candles”), composed by Flory Jagoda. In the category of yuletide spiritual was the contrapuntal and musically playful “Go Tell It On the Mountain.”

Along with Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker’s familiar modern carol “Do You Hear What I Hear” (1962), the Club performed “The Christmas Song.” This paean to chestnuts roasting by an open fire was written (in 1944, reportedly in the middle of a hot summer) by Mel Torme, although it is perhaps most associated with one of four versions recorded by Nat King Cole.

 
 

2013 Annual Spring Concert
(second performance of 147th season)

Date: May 7; 7:30 pm
Location:
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 West 68th Street
Guest artist: Eleni Calenos, soprano

Along with its usual interesting variety of music, the spring concert featured a world premiere: a piece by Mendelssohn’s vice president Jon Pohlmann. “Men Who Sing” was composed (with a twinkle in Jon’s eye) expressly for the club. Jon not only has a band called the Hoi Polloi, he is a talented composer who has written music for theater, TV, documentaries, silent movies, big band, concert piano, ballet, cabaret, and chorus. 

The rest of the program – for the most part a spirited, upbeat one – ranged from a powerful chorus from the opera Nabucco, which work confirmed Giuseppi Verdi as a major composer, to numbers from three Broadway shows. It included a paean in Latin to the pleasures and excitements of singing, a piece based on a Robert Frost poem, a Kentucky folk song that dates back to the mid-19th century, and a Calypso work song that will be quite familiar to most members of the audience. 

Greg Gilpin’s rhythmic “Jubilate!,” as its title says in a simple word, is a lively exhortation to the joys of song. “The Pasture,” composed by Randall Thompson as part of Frostiana on the occasion of the 1959 Amherst, Massachusetts, bicentennial, is based on a Robert Frost poem. In a Hibernian vein, the Club sang Rolf Løvland and Brendan Graham’s “You Raise Me Up” – in whose melody one heard more than a few echoes of “Londonderry Air” or, if you prefer, “Danny Boy.” 

From the Broadway show (based on the screenplay for a 1965 movie of the same name) Shenandoah – a showstopper that packs a punch, one might say – was the rousing “Next to Lovin’ (I like Fightin’ Best),” by Gary Geld (music) and Peter Udell (lyrics).

From Verdi’s Nabucco, “Va, pensiero,” also known in English as the "Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves," tells the story of Jewish exiles from Judea following the loss of the First Temple in Jerusalem. MGC also performed the poignant “Bring Him Home" from Les Misérables, the long-running Broadway show and also a critically acclaimed motion picture; and the song that, recorded in 1955, made Harry Belafonte: "The Banana Boat Song.”

To round things off, the Club sang a medley – music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin – from another show from the Great White Way, Annie. The original 1977 production ran for almost six years, and the show is now enjoying a Broadway revival. The medley included a reprise number with lyrics written for and in tribute to MGC by Mr. Charnin (who was present for the festivities): “Whose horn should we toot? The Mendelssohn Glee Club./ Who’s old but still cute? The Mendelssohn Glee Club…”

 
 

2012 Annual Winter Holiday Concert
(first performance of 147th season)

Date:  December 11; 7:30 pm
Location:
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 West 68th Street
Guest artist: Valentina Fleer, soprano

The MGC program of 16 pieces (six of which were being performed by the Club for the first time) were, as ever, drawn from diverse composers and sources, from Bach and Mozart to a Broadway song writing team; and varied from a spirited sea chantey to a rhythmic African-American classic to enough seasonal fare to provide a buzz of appropriate holiday cheer.

“A-Roving,” a chantey based on a poem by Lord Byron, envisions the restlessness of youth giving way to the weight of old age. From the Gullah people of South Carolina’s coast and islands is “Kum Bah Yah” (Come By Here), which celebrates togetherness and spiritual unity among people. It was revived as a folk tune in the 1960s by Joan Baez. The men of Mendelssohn also sang “Blow! Blow! Thou Winter Wind” from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, a biting comment on ingratitude and the ways of the world. “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” is of course a musical version of Robert Frost’s classic ruminative poem.

“Man of La Mancha” (music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion) is the dramatic opening number from the Broadway show of the same name about the great Spanish literary hero Don Quixote.  A touch of opera was essayed by MGC (in French) with the martial “Soldiers’ Chorus” from Charles Gounod’s La Damnation de Faust.

Among the Christmas songs presented by the Club were be the fireside favorite (music by Ralph Blane and lyrics by Hugh Martin) “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” often associated with Judy Garland’s version in the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis and with a later highly popular interpretation by Frank Sinatra; and – pa-rum-pa-pum-pum – “Little Drummer Boy,” composed in 1941 by Katherine Kennicott Davis.  “Light One Candle” celebrates the Maccabees’ struggle for justice. Now associated with Hannukah, it was written by Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, and Mary) and arranged for MGC by Robert DeCormier.

Guest artist soprano Valentina Fleer performed arias from Puccini, including "O Mio Babbino Caro" (Gianni Schicchi) and "Quando M'en vo'" (La Bohème) as well as pieces by Handel, Holst, Rachmaninov, and Mozart.

 
 

2012 Annual Spring Concert
(second performance of 146th season)

Date: Tuesday, May 15; 7:30 pm
Location:
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 West 68th Street
Guest artist: Narine Ojakhyan, soprano
Program highlights

From a haunting song about spectral cowboys and herds and a satirical sea chantey to a lusty drinking song and a spirited tune from a picaresque operetta, the MGC program was typically varied in musical genre and feeling. Most of the 13 pieces were performed for the first time by the Club. Composed by Stan Jones, “Ghost Riders in the Sky” – a crossover pop hit in 1949 and a piece recorded by some fifty different performers – has a melody and harmonies very akin to the classic “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

The Club also sang Henry Clay Work’s “My Grandfather’s Clock,” composed in 1876, sometimes considered a children’s song but also a standard favored by both British brass bands and bluegrass musicians. (The song, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, also popularized the term grandfather clock for the upright longcase clock.) In a comic vein – perfectly clear from its mocking title – “Sick of the Songs of the Sea” was composed by C. Bennett as a sea chantey to end all sea chanteys.

The men of Mendelssohn also presented Ralph Vaughan Williams’s “Drinking Song,” adapted from the composer’s opera Sir John in Love; and, from Rudolf Friml’s 1925 operetta The Vagabond King – based on the adventurous life of French poet and thief François Villon – MGC  joined voices in a lively arrangement of the well-known “Song of the Vagabonds.” The program also included both an Irish and a Scottish air, a spiritual, and a Jerome Kern composition that has become a  treasure of the American Songbook.

The guest artist, soprano Narine Ojakhyan, performed arias from Puccini's Le Villi (an opera-ballet), Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, and Rimsky-Korsakov's The Snow Maiden as well as "Meine Lippen" from Franz Lehar's operetta Giuditta. She also sang three Armenian songs by A. Doluxanyan, H. Berberyan, and A. Ayivazyan.

 
 

2011 Winter Holiday Concert
(first performance of 146th season)

Date: Tuesday, December 13, 7:30 pm

Location:
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 West 68th Street
Guest artist: Meredith Lustig, soprano

Program highlights

The MGC program of fifteen pieces -- from both American and European composers -- offers as always variety in both musical genre and mood. 

Five of the works are being sung by the Club for the first time: “In Taberna Quando Sumus,” “As Time Goes By,” “Dirait-on,” “Lydia the Tattooed Lady,” and “How Should a King Come?” 

“In Taberna Quando Sumus” is part of Carl Orff's best-known work, Carmina Burana, an aggressively rhythmic piece drawn from secular poetry in a 13th-century manuscript found in a Benedictine monastery. Carmina Burana is notable for being at once medieval in content and modern in Orff's singular treatment.  

You will also hear "As Time Goes By." Composed by Herman Hupfield in 1931 for the Broadway musical Everybody's Welcome, it's of course known to most people for its ambient importance in the 1939 movie Casablanca and sung in that film by Dooley Wilson. The song later became a Rudy Vallee hit in 1942.

The sweet and lilting "Dirait-on" is an original choral work by the contemporary American composer Morten Lauridsen. The lyrics of Lauridsen's setting are part of Les Chansons des Roses, by the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke (who wrote hundreds of poems in French). 

In the realm of musical humor, MGC will do its version of “Lydia the Tattooed Lady,” written in 1939 by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg for the Marx Brothers film At the Circus.  Using ingenious rhymes in itemizing specific tattoos on parts of Lydia, it soon became a signature tune for Groucho Marx, who in 1950 famously sang it (and stopped trading for several minutes) at the New York Stock Exchange. 

The winter concert will also include, among other songs, "The Galway Piper," "Italian Street Song" (from Naughty Marietta), and the barbershop number "Coney Island Baby."  

Part of some closing holiday fare will be two original choral works. The song “How Should a King Come?” (music by Jimmy Owens, lyrics by Carol Owens) was arranged by Mendelssohn conductor Gene Wisoff for men’s chorus and piano. The words about Joseph and Mary’s humble arrival in Bethlehem have a charming, childlike simplicity. Anne Albritton’s contemplative, then rousing and joyous "Music of Hanukkah" will also be performed.

Guest artist soprano Meredith Lustig's program will include works by Giacomo Puccini (“O Mio Babbino Caro” from Gianni Schicchi), Richard Strauss (Mädchenblumen, a four-song cycle), and Victor Herbert (“Art Is Calling”). Other composers in Ms. Lustig’s program are Alfred Bachelet and Jules Massanet.

 
 
2011 Spring Concert
(second performance of 145th season)
 
Date: Tuesday, May 17
Location:
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, 30 West 68th Street
Guest artist:
 Alexandra Akulich, pianist
 
Program highlights

In commemoration of the epochal events of September 11, 2001, MGC gave voice to a number of songs that resounded with the values, longings, and special spirit of America, from the wistful "Shenandoah" to the ever stirring, anthemlike "Battle Hymn of the Republic."  

The Club presented an arrangement of "Lift Every Voice," whose fervent sense of hope and strength (its lyrics are from a poem by James Weldon Johnson later set to music by Johnson's brother, John) continues to have a particular association with the Civil Rights era and black churches across America. 

The program concluded its tribute to 9/11 with a performance of Testament of Freedom, composed in 1943, in the midst of World War II, for the bicentennial of Thomas Jefferson's birth -- and to inspire Americans with resolve in times of trouble.

Randall Thompson's four-movement work, which draws its entire text from the writings of Jefferson, had its premiere at the University of Virginia, where is was recorded and soon broadcast nationwide and to Allied forces fighting abroad. In 1945 it was performed at Carnegie Hall by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in memory of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, two days after his death.

 
 
2010 Winter Holiday Concert
(first performance of 145th season)
 
Date: Tuesday, December 14
Location: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Manhattan Temple
Guest artist: Joyce El-Khoury, soprano
 

Program highlights

Comedy tonight, some seriously Romantic songs, and an African Christmas classic sung in the Yoruba language were just some of the offerings of MGC’s 145th annual winter concert.

The Club paid homage to both Robert Schumann, in this bicentennial of his birth, and Stephen Sondheim, who turned eighty in 2010 – and closed the evening out by vocalizing some appropriate, infectiously familiar seasonal music.

Schumann wrote not only symphonies and chamber classics but choral pieces, an opera, and lieder for voice and piano. Among the Schumann selections the Club performed were “Widmung” and “Die Lotusblume,” both four-part arrangements by conductor Gene Wisoff.

Early in his career, Sondheim, Broadway’s esteemed evoker of double-edged feelings and urbanely urban wit, gave us the lyrics for both West Side Story (music by Leonard Bernstein) and Gypsy (music by Jule Styne). But he went on to do his own composing, often with sophisticated polyphony, in such landmark shows as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, and Sweeney Todd. The Club led off the program with “Comedy Tonight,” the opener from Forum, and the rollicking “Officer Krupke,” from West Side Story. Also heard were “Being Alive,” from Company, and the expressively wistful but slightly acerbic “Send in the Clowns,” from A Little Night Music.

Additionally, the men of Mendelssohn sang “The Salvation Army Band Song,” by Mendelssohn's vice president, Jon Pohlmann; Harry Burleigh’s spiritual, “Steal Away”; and the Gospel song “Whisper! Whisper!,” by Michael Isaacson -- not to mention the cleverly concocted “Fruitcake.” The Club closed the concert with holiday fare, which will include “We Wish You a Merry Christmas"; the Nigerian Christmas carol Betelehemu" (with accompaniment by three young percussionists from West Side High School); and Conductor Wisoff’s arrangement of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

 
 

2010 Spring Concert
(second performance of 144th season)

 

Date: Tuesday, May 11
Location: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Manhattan Temple
Guest artist:  Matthew Anchel, bass
Guest composer: Jon Pohlmann

Program highlights

The MGC program was one of its more contrast-rich in years -- sixteen pieces, from solid Broadway classics to traditional songs of the mountains and of the road, from heartfelt ballads of both the Old World and the New to zesty tunes with playful lyrics, from a bit of Brahms to the wit of Gershwin.

The Club led off with the fiery, rhythmic "Danza!," composer Linda Spevacek's thrumming homage to the fever of Spanish dance; and Barry Manilow's plaintive, musically building exhortation "One Voice." The program included subsequently the traditional strains of the Carolina tippler's mountain song "Black-eyed Susie" and the amusing black humor of Cecil Forsythe's "Old King Cole."

In the realm of the romantic, MGC sang a Brahms love song, "Der Gang Zum Liebchen," as well as the Irish-style love ballad "Till the Stars Fall From the Sky" -- and, in a more lively, brash vein, "Toot, Toot, Tootsie!"

From Gershwin, there was that most rousing of marches, "Strike Up the Band," along with two other timeless tunes from the Great White Way -- one, focused beyond the blue horizon but not far from the Yellow Brick Road, by Arlen and Harburg ("Over the Rainbow"); and the other, the reigning anthem of the Big Apple, by Kander and Ebb ("New York, New York").

For their finale the Club was joined by bass soloist Matthew Anchel in a rendition of Oley Speaks's Kipling-inspired "On the Road to Mandalay. (A prolific songwriter and composer, Mr. Speaks was a member of MGC more than seventy years ago.)

 
 

2009 Winter Holiday Concert
(first performance of 144th season)

 

Date: Tuesday, December 8
Location: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Manhattan Temple
Guest artists: Juilliard chamber quartet

Program highlights

The Club's program, typically varied, drew from spirituals, traditional and folk pieces, classic American popular songs, and seasonal music.

In celebration of Felix Mendelssohn's 200th birthday, the Club sang "Turkish Drinking Song," "Auf Flügeln des Gesanges," and "To the Sons of Art." The men also performed Bernstein's "Dream With Me" (from Peter Pan) and, by the conductor's uncle, Gerald Wisoff, "Japanese Lullaby."

To ring in the holidays the chorus offered "Oh! Christmas Tree???," "Catalonian Christmas Carol," and Mendelssohn's "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing." Pianist Ellen Farren and MGC's Alexandra Akulich provided four-handed accompaniment for the Club's classic rendition of "Ding Dong Merrily on High" (by G. R. Woodward).

 
 
2009 Spring Concert
(second performance of 143rd season
 

Date: Tuesday, May 12
Location:
Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, 263 West 86th Street
Guest artist: Michelle Johnson, soprano

Program highlights

The Club performed Romantic works, including "Die Mainacht" by Brahms, "La Pastorella" by Schubert, and "Die Lorelei" and "Hunter's Farewell" by Mendelssohn. There was a piece by Romberg -- "Stouthearted Men" -- and Sullivan's "March of the Peers." The Club joined guest artist soprano Michelle Johnson in "Lida Rose," from The Music Man, by Meredith Willson. Spirituals, sea chanteys, and folk songs were also on the program.

 
 
MGC AT ST. BART'S  The Club performed at St. Bartholomew's Church in March 2008, along with the Harvard Glee Club, as part of the celebration of HGC's 150th anniversary.
 
 

2007 SPRING CONCERT  The Mendelssohn Glee Club and guest artist Kristin Sampson performing at the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre (Fashion Institute of Technology). (Click here to see slide show.)
 
   
 
 
 
       

top  home  about the conductor 
 members   history donations 
notable links