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SMO File

SMO, alumni harmonize in winter concert

While many people crowd around their TVs to watch Fox’s hit show Glee on Tuesdays, Ohio University’s real-life glee club took the stage Saturday night.

The Singing Men of Ohio, their alumni and Section 8 performed their winter alumni concert at the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium for a crowd of more than 800 audience members.

SMO, OU’s male glee club, practices three times a week for its three major concerts per year. The group consists of men from different majors of OU, something of which President Kyle Raffel, a senior studying communication studies, said the group is proud.

“SMO is a place where guys from all different ages, majors, social classes, can come together and form a brotherhood around the central concept of making music,” Raffel said. “For most guys, music is an escape from the everyday stresses that we all face.”

The show marked the 10th annual SMO alumni concert where SMO alumni are invited back for the winter concert to perform with the group, Raffel said.

Peter Jarjisian, director of SMO, said the alumni concert was created because the ensemble had such an impact on those men who were a part of it that they wanted to revisit it.

“Every one of these men who has been in the group has had such a special experience that they enjoy celebrating the value of that,” Jarjisian said. “They enjoy the camaraderie, the fraternity, and they really believe in supporting the same type of experience.”

And alumni are not the only ones who feel a sense of pride when it comes to SMO. Kevin Brantch, a third-year member and junior studying music education, said he felt a sense of brotherhood almost immediately.

“To me, SMO is important because it’s the only group I’ve ever been involved in that wasn’t cliquey,” Brantch said. “Every guy that loves music has a place in SMO.”

SMO performed traditional choral selections such as a special arrangement of “Ave Maria” and a take on “Amazing Grace” at their show Saturday.

For those who were not accustomed to traditional choir fare, Section 8, the a capella group that Raffel described as “born out of SMO,” performed arrangements of popular songs including “Down” and “Pinball Wizard.”

The songs can be found on Section 8’s new CD, That’s Okay Here, its first CD in almost 10 years. The album was released at the concert and sold 100 copies, and will be available through Section 8’s website.

The concert was also a special occasion because Raymond Feener, former director of SMO and originator of Section 8, was the guest conductor. Feener’s presence, in addition to the opportunity to mingle with alumni, made Saturday a memorable event.

“In particular, this concert was special because our guest conductor, Dr. Ray Feener, was here,” said Brantch. “In general, what makes the alumni concert special is that new members get to meet alumni and hear what SMO was like in their day which unites us in the legacy that we, as the new generation, were given.”


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