Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lock City Glee Club to Celebrate 50 Years With Concert

The Lock City Glee Club is celebrating their 50th anniversary with a concert at Lockport High School on Saturday, April 23rd at 7pm. Presale tickets are $10 from any member or at Scirto's Awards & Gifts (458 Walnut St), and $12 at the door. There will be a basket raffle to benefit the club as they work towards another 50 years entertaining Lockport.

The Harrison Men's Glee Club was formed in 1965 at Harrison Radiator in Lockport. The chorus was mostly for publicity purposes, and performed at many civic and organizational functions. The man within Harrisons chiefly responsible for supporting the club was Bernie Raynor. One of the greatest memories of the old members was a trip to Lake Placid, where Bernie was responsible for bringing the chorus for entertainment. The Glee Club was well received with an impressive performance.
The original Music Director was Dick Geise, a Newfane school music teacher. He remained with the chorus through it’s evolution to a community-sponsored chorus, the Lock City Glee Club, and beyond, retiring from Music Director and returning later to sing and become an Associate Music Director.
From ’65 through the 70s the Glee Club was much the same and continued success gained a devoted audience. As they entered the 1980s, a new period of our history would develop to change the face of the chorus. the Lock City Glee Club, Inc was the name taken at the transition to a community-sponsored organization.
Then President Claire Watkins (1981) had to assist the separation from sponsorship to a much required self-supporting unit that could maintain staff and find if any interest would appeal to the existing audience and continue to grow. The Glee Club had a public following and certainly enjoyed the fellowship enough to try to keep going. Watkins remembers having discussions with Dick Geise when Dick stated he had done shows before so why not try that for fund-raising.
Another impetus was the shortly advanced an invitation to join the Associated Male Choruses of America (the New York-Penn District) in 1981. Jack Ernisse, from a Rochester chorus and then officer in the district, had heard about the club and came to visit a rehearsal one evening to recruit the chorus. The Glee Club sent three men to the next District Big Sing,  an annual gathering of the member choruses held on a Saturday. The event was held that year at Wellsboro, PA, with the Wellsboro Men’s Chorus hosting. The report back to Lock City Glee Club was only positive and enthusiastic, and they joined the Association that year.
Having such opportunity to interface with other Male Choruses was most fulfilling and rewarding to their success in the following years. They learned new music, found fellowship and friends to share the experiences with, and became very competent performers.  The Lock City Glee Club also learned to be very good hosts, having always been prepared to take rotation scheduled for holding the District Big Sing in Lockport.
Recent events with new Music Director, Drew Burke, and accompanist, Debbie Hutter, shows promise with enthusiastic progress. The Officers and Board of Directors continue to pursue plans to reach younger men, and even introduce the idea in area high schools. Presently, the club continues to present two annual events --  a free Christmas Concert, and a fund-raising concert, the Spring Sing. Requests for performances can be made at any time and will be discussed for each opportunity presented.

And as the song goes, “Brothers Sing On!”…