glee club

Members of the Imperial Glee Club practice on Tuesday at USU.

Cache Valley’s historic men’s chorus, the Imperial Glee Club, will perform its 103rd Annual Spring Concert at Utah State University next week to celebrate Memorial Day before traveling to Washington D.C. in 2020.

“We want to encourage everyone to come out to the concert next week and hear some of the songs we plan to sing in Washington D.C. next year,” said Craig Mortenson, a composer for the group.

Mortenson said that the group was invited to attend the National Memorial Day Choral Festival this year, but they needed a year to prepare financially for a trip in 2020.

“The concert is at the Kennedy Center and some won’t be able to go with us as we join other national choirs,” Mortenson said. “We are planning some fundraisers for this year as it will cost each individual between $2,800 and $3,000 to go.”

Many of the 25 members have been in the club for decades, and Mortenson said that some are elderly without any income.

Under the direction of Randy Wellbaum with Merilee Broadbent as an accompanist, the choir performs roughly 25 concerts between September and July each year.

“Because the club has been around for so long, we have a very loyal fanbase,” Mortenson said. “We are a service club, so we try to get around to as many nursing homes as possible at Christmas and we get a lot of opportunities to perform patriotic songs in November around Veteran’s Day.”

Ron Mecham, another choir member, said that it is a great opportunity to sing to the community and Mortenson said that there is a brotherhood and sense of fellowship in the club.

“I already knew of the club because it started in my home ward,” Mortenson said, adding that he was invited 27 years ago to join. “There are so many relationships that we’ve formed over the years and a choir of our size really just works well.”

The Imperial Glee Club performs 50 songs in the year and is made up of about 25-30 people. However, Mortenson said that after the 100th anniversary season in 2016, many of the seasoned singers retired and the club shrank in size.

“We will be looking for new members in September and they have to go through an auditioning process,” Mortenson said.

The Imperial Glee Club has a musical library consisting of over 500 pieces, and in 1921, the club adopted “The Lord is My Shepherd” as its theme song. During the summer, the glee club will often perform for the summer concert series at the Tabernacle and at Summerfest, if asked. On Sunday, June 30, the club will also perform at Hyrum’s Star Spangled Celebration.

The Annual Spring Concert with guest speaker USAF Master Sgt. Sterling Poulson will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, at the Russel Wanlass Performance Hall.

Any men interested in joining the Imperial Glee Club or donating to the club’s trip to D.C. can contact Craig Mortenson at craigrmort@aol.com.