How Can They Keep from Singing?

“I was thinking how proud I am to be from a small school where 100 guys get together on a Saturday night and sing,” said Eric Stark ’88 as he stepped forward to guest conduct early in the Glee Club Alumni Reunion Concert in Salter Hall Saturday.

The director of the Butler Chorale and the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, Stark was one of more than 60 alumni returning for Homecoming, joining the current student Glee Club to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Wabash College Glee Club. A standing room only crowd in Salter Hall cheered a program led by Glee Club Director Professor Richard Bowen that covered the repertoire of generations of Wabash singers from 1950 to 2012.

“They talk about camaraderie in sports, but there’s a real camaraderie here, too,” said Allan Anderson ’65. “Just to stand on those risers again, to hear those harmonies that are embedded in your memory. It’s just wonderful.”

While the rousing “Old King Cole” (a favorite from the days when Robert Mitchum directed the Glee Club), the spiritual “Little Innocent Lamb”, and the Quaker song “How Can I Keep from Singing?” were crowd pleasers, one of the more moving moments came when Stark directed the spiritual “My Lord, What a Mornin’.”

“When you return to a reunion like tonight, you can’t help but think of the person who sang next to you,” Stark told the audience. “This song is for those who could not be with us tonight: those whose schedules did not permit it, and those who were taken from us all too soon.”

Bowen also noted that Allan Wright ’50 had driven all the way from New Jersey to sing that night. The combined student and alumni Glee Club of 100-plus singers brought the audience to its feet, concluding the program with a spirited rendition of “Old Wabash” and “Alma Mater.”