Purdue Varsity Glee Club Shines at ACDA Midwestern Region Conference

The American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Midwestern Region Conference in Omaha, Nebraska became the stage for a remarkable performance by the Purdue Varsity Glee Club on February 10, 2024. The conference, a gathering of choral directors from across the Midwestern region, provided a platform for Purdue University, which lacks a dedicated school of music, and PMO to showcase the incredible student talent nurtured within the walls of Ralph and Bettye Bailey Hall.

Taking place at the magnificent Holland Performing Arts Center in downtown Omaha, the performance was a blend of timeless classics and contemporary works from the Glee Club's repertoire. Among the highlights were the classic medley “Tribute to World Peace” and the newer piece "Wedding Qawwali," a student-led and choreographed song from the Bollywood-themed musical Bombay Dreams (Qawwali being a form of devotional singing originating in South Asia).

“After we concluded ‘Wedding Qawwali,’ I fought back the tears of joy that welled up during the standing ovation from that audience of professional musicians,” Glee Club member Brendan Duffy said. “I'm blessed to be a member of this amazing Glee Club class and to have shared the gift of music with [our directors’] colleagues and contemporaries.”

Bill Griffel, PMO Director, emphasized the significance of the ACDA convention as a platform for professional growth and networking. For Griffel, the conference served as a source of inspiration and rejuvenation, fostering connections with colleagues, and an opportunity to learn about innovative choral practices from around the country.

Reflecting on the experience, Joe Bandi, Assistant Director of Purduettes and University Choir who accompanied the Glee Club on this particular outing, expressed the profound impact of the conference on the group's future endeavors. He highlighted the invaluable insights gained from workshops and sessions focused on enhancing expressiveness and exploring diverse musical traditions.

Other members of the Glee Club shared their perspectives on the trip, recounting the camaraderie forged during the road trip there and the thrill of receiving standing ovations from an audience of music professionals.

“I was so honored to be able to perform at the ACDA convention as a freshman,” Glee Club member Wes Blalock said. “It made me proud to be in the Glee Club and eager to give back to it as much as I can in the years to come.”

With the performance behind them and several more exciting events to come this semester, including a 130th PVGC Anniversary Celebration, both students and staff return to campus with a sense of pride in representing Purdue University on a national stage, a deeper appreciation for the power of music to unite and inspire, and a renewed commitment to excellence.

Writer: Christopher Wolford, cwolfor@purdue.edu 

About ACDA

Founded in 1959, ACDA is a nonprofit music education organization whose central purpose is to promote excellence in choral music through performance, composition, publication, research, and teaching. In addition, ACDA strives through arts advocacy to elevate choral music’s position in American society.

Through concerts, educational clinics, choral music reading sessions, and exhibits by music-industry partners, ACDA members have access to diverse and practical conference forums in which to develop their skills and professional knowledge. National conferences are held in odd-numbered years and regional conferences are held in even-numbered years. For more information about ACDA, please visit acda.org