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Video: Morehouse College Glee Club soars in Morristown
Video: Morehouse College Glee Club soars in Morristown
Video: Morehouse College Glee Club soars in Morristown

Published on: 03/22/2023


According to its director, The Morehouse College Glee Club mixes students with extensive choral backgrounds and guys “who have never sung before, and don’t know a whole note from a chicken.”

Which makes David Morrow an amazing alchemist.

The sounds he coaxed on Monday from his 34-voice ensemble elicited “amens!” and multiple thunderous ovations in the sold-out Morristown United Methodist Church.

Afterward, a woman apologized to one of the singers for abruptly exiting the sanctuary in the middle of a song. The chorus’ elegiac Amazing Grace made her cry.

There were spirituals–John Was a Writer, Sit Down Servant–and Marvin Gaye’s soulful What’s Going On. Handel made the cut, and a quartet romped through an operatic sendup of Rigoletto. Betelehemu featured pounding tribal drums and swirling Yoruba lyrics.

The program included a hint of rap, too, in the chilling Requiem from The Unarmed Child by Adrian Dunn and Michael Bussewitz-Quant:

No more killing / No more bloodshed / No more babies with bullets in their head

As if on cue, a first responder’s siren echoed around the Green, just as the song reached its powerful climax. The audience sat in silence for a moment, as if overwhelmed, and then rose and cheered.

“David has a real vision for the kind of sound he wants. He’s an incredible singer himself,” said the new musical director of the Morristown church, John Liepold, a former glee club conductor at the University of Virginia.

He has known Morrow for more than 30 years–they are members of the service organization Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses–which enabled him to book the Morehouse College Glee Club. A busy east coast tour is teaching these young singers the importance of caring for their instruments.

“I drank more tea last week than I had all last year,” said Daniel Shegog, a junior from North Carolina majoring in chemistry.


The tour comes as many of the club’s classmates are enjoying spring break. The singers don’t seem bothered at all.

“Spring breaks come and go. I can go to Miami or California on my own time. Here, I can have an experience I can remember for a lifetime,” said B’Nathaniel Orlu, a junior from Detroit.

The glee club has taken Orlu to some exotic stages, including a stadium in Nigeria. Morehouse, an historically Black men’s college in Atlanta with an honor roll that includes Martin Luther King Jr. and Spike Lee, established the club in 1911.

Over the years, it has backed Aretha Franklin and Jessye Norman, performed at Super Bowls and Olympic ceremonies, sung in TV commercials (American Family Insurance, with Jennifer Hudson) and appeared on soundtracks of Lee films (School Daze, Red Hook).

Members of this glee club edition revere Morrow (Morehouse, ’80).

“It’s not just that he directs us. He teaches us through the music,” said Walker Hill, a senior from Miami. He cited Requiem, with its message of curbing violence against children.

“I can only see us getting better under his tutelage,” said Jordan Stewart, a junior from Georgia who is majoring in voice. He said he hopes to use his musical and poetry talents to help make a better world.

The audience of 400 liked what it heard on Monday.

“They blew me away,” said Mark Miller, a choral composer and faculty member at the Drew Theological School and the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University.

The Rev. Luana Cook Scott, pastor of the Morristown United Methodist Church, said the show continued the church’s post-pandemic “new and improved concert series,” kicked off earlier this month by the return of the Harmonium Choral Society.  Scott said the series aims to make “statements of inclusion.”

Harmonium’s artistic director, Anne Matlack, said she would she would love to snag Morehouse Glee Club members for her 100-voice ensemble.

“Maybe some of them will move to Morristown,” she said.

Author : Kevin Coughlin

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