Friendship between the director of Cornell University’s Glee Club and conductor of the Pasadena Master Chorale brought the two singing groups together Sunday afternoon for a joint concert at the La Crescenta Presbyterian Church.
The choir from Ithaca, N.Y., has been on a tour of 12 California cities charming alumni, parents and friends of the 146-year-old Ivy League school with its youthful participants singing a wide-ranging program of songs that exhort the wonders of earth, sky, love and faith. The glee club traces its roots to 1868, a mere three years after the founding of the university.
The relationship between Pasadena Master Chorale Conductor Jeffrey Bernstein and the Cornell University Glee Club Director Scott Tucker stems from a music association at another Ivy League school, Harvard, when both were attending that institution. The Bernstein’s family also has had deep connections to Cornell.
The Pasadena Master Chorale’s participation was brief but proved odd in that Bernstein selected works from Mozart’s “Requiem” and “Ave Verum Corpus”—two pieces that celebrate death—whereas all but a smattering of the songs by the young men spoke of life and love. The earnestness of the glee club was a hands-down winner over the muted, somewhat scattered, offering by Pasadena Master Chorale.