As part of a long-standing ritual, Varsity Glee Club members yelled “We are, sir!” as loudly as possible backstage before the audience arrived.
Ethan Lapham, a recent alumnus from the College of Technology, said the ensembles’ exclamation answers a routine question asked by club manager Tim Harris: “Who’s the best Glee Club?”
“That will never die,” Lapham said. “That is our tradition.”
With their energy pumping from backstage rituals and pep talks before the performance, the show began at 7:30 p.m. The men walked down the aisles singing the words “We are Boilermaker strong” to energize the hundreds of Glee fans in the theater.
Jeremey Clifford, a Purdue alumnus, was a first-time attendee at the season-ending performance. He said the high-energy beginning was a great start to the performance. This energy that he said never seemed to die kept him interested throughout the whole performance.
“I definitely thought the beginning and the whole show was exciting,” Clifford said. “I liked how the guys started right away in song and the show began.”
Lou Fenoglio, a senior in the College of Science, described the season-ending show as being held “near and dear” to the performers’ hearts.
“This is a show we have been waiting for all year,” he said. “There is a lot of emotion and heart put into it.”
Clifford and the other audience members witnessed songs that brought back memories of past decades such as the “Wizard of Oz,” Peter Carroll’s serenade to his mother and Steven Sander’s composed song. Both Carroll and Sanders are graduated seniors from the College of Engineering.
Clifford said this show makes him want to come back next year because of the exciting atmosphere. He loved the variety of the show and all of the elements incorporated within the last performance.
“I thought the five minute rendition of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ was funny and fun,” Clifford said. “I love music and I don’t think another show would have included so many (elements) in two hours. As an alumnus I am proud to see how much those guys are doing in addition to schooling.”
At certain points during the show, the energy calmed down with the realization that 16 seniors were singing with the club for their last time. The seniors made a video highlighting inside jokes and lasting memories they have made.
Danny Hartman, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, agreed with the director, William Griffel, when he said the seniors are “incredible guys.”
“Losing these guys is going to take a huge toll on us just because we love these guys so much; there’s a huge hole in our heart now,” Hartman said. “Hopefully in order to honor them we are going to come back stronger next year.”