Hello! My name is Joe Kirner and I’m a rookie from South Bend, IN in the Notre Dame Glee Club studying Global Affairs and living in Stanford Hall. My experience on our recently completed fall tour through Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas transformed my impressions of what it truly means to be in the Glee Club at Notre Dame. Through witnessing the incredible investment of Notre Dame alumni across the country in ensuring the best tour experience possible for us, and experiencing profoundly generous homestays in each city, I grew increasingly more aware that being a member of the Glee Club is a lifelong experience that extends far beyond college.
We began our tour in the lovely city of Houston, Texas, where the Astros pride was so fervent that the church was posting the current score of the ongoing game between songs to reassure any audience members eager to check on their team. St. John Vianney was one of the largest parishes I had ever visited, and they served the first of many excellent fajita dinners we experienced on tour. Traveling through San Antonio, Austin, and Forth Worth, and later stopping by Oklahoma City and Wichita, our free time ranged from intense games of kickball and football to hour-long stops at Buc-ee’s to exploring the Alamo and Oklahoma’s breathtaking Lake Murray State Park. The best-kept secret in all of Oklahoma, Lake Murray was home to a resort-level beach, with the softest sand in the world and crystal clear water, all of which we had to ourselves for an afternoon. I was so grateful that we were not only able to perform in such incredible destinations but to experience the wonderful landmarks they had to offer as well.
One of my favorite parts of tour was getting to know my fellow clubbers through the homestays. Being paired with people I didn’t necessarily know as well before tour pushed me into new circles and allowed me to become more acquainted with the club as a whole. Furthermore, our hosts were absolutely remarkable. Whether Notre Dame alumni, parents, or local church parishioners, they were always extremely gracious, offering more food than I could ever hope to eat, and our conversations taught me everything from the history of the Glee Club to strategies for career discernment. By the end of tour, I realized that homestays not only connect Glee Club members with each other and foster a stronger community, but also allow the club to develop personal connections with people across the nation, gradually building upon the club’s extensive network and legacy.
Finally, the musical experience I gained on Fall Tour 2023 was beyond rewarding for my musicality, confidence, and sense of responsibility for the music. While it was certainly a challenge to maintain the vocal endurance required by our demanding schedule of rehearsals and performances, I became significantly more aware of the cues and rhythms of other parts, which helped me approach some semblance of memorization of the program. All in all, this tour was an excellent introduction to the many awe-inspiring, exhausting, and fulfilling tours to come, and I can’t wait to visit more places, perform at more outstanding venues, and meet more people with the Glee Club!
– Joe Kirner
The Glee Club’s Fall Tour surpassed my expectations. I joined the Notre Dame Glee Club pretty late into the first half of the semester, so I didn’t have much time to discern whether or not I wanted to go. I was highly encouraged to, so I said yes. I wasn’t expecting much, to be honest, as its primary purpose was for us to go around different states performing for different Catholic churches. It was assuredly much more than that.
Within Texas, we explored the cities of Austin, Houston, Fort Worth, and San Antonio. Coming from a high school in Georgia, I didn’t expect it to be any different from the other southern states, but it was truly unique. The weather is great during the fall, and it’s very culturally diverse, containing individuals from all walks of life. Be sure to visit the Alamo in San Antonio or the Waterfront in Fort Worth, those places were cool. Finally, the bus antics. They were… definitely interesting. Would I recommend it? Sure, but only if you have a secret talent. Mine is poetic improvisation and it was very entertaining to everyone else!
– Chidera Onyia