The Stories Behind the Songs: Glee and Concert Glee

Rachel Baez, Contributing Writer

The Concert Glee will perform three songs in this virtual extravaganza: “Silver Bells,” “Oiwi E,” and “Words.” The Glee Club will also perform three songs; along with Concert Glee, they will perform “Oiwi E,” a medley of “Pine Cones and Holly Berries” and “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” and “Horace Mann Hymn.”

Music Department Chair and Choir Director Timothy Ho decided on the classic version of “Silver Bells’” to bring some holiday joy to the school, he said. “Pine Cones and Holly Berries/It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas” will also hopefully bring holiday spirit, he said. 

“Oiwi E’” showcases a combined effort by Concert Glee and Glee Club and will be performed with a Hawaiian combo made up of a guitar, an upright bass, and a ukulele, Ho said. Unlike previous years, the guitarist, bass, and ukulele trio will be performing with the ensemble; Ho combined the voices of the students and the Hawaiian Combo’s instrumental music, making it one synchronous sound, he also said. “No matter who you are or what cultural grouping you belong to, now is the time to stick together,” Ho said to relate this piece to the ensemble.

Concert Glee will also perform Anders Edenroth’s “Words.” This piece is both intellectual and challenging as the process of learning each individual part was complicated, Ho said. “It is a play on words and how they function in society,” Ho said. The song is a highly rhythmic cerebral vocal jazz piece, which is hard to teach online, Ho said. Along with a large number of lyrics, there is also a five-part choir, including four soloists that execute vocal percussion.

Performed by Glee Club, “Horace Mann Hymn” is the original Horace Mann alma mater. Ho is hoping that this piece evokes a sense of nostalgia, allowing the school to embrace its history, he said. The piece was arranged by alumnus Jacob Bass.

Ho hopes that the concert will provide some sort of normalcy. “There is still a sense of community [in school] even though we have to be six feet apart with masks on,” Ho said.