This clique would rather be Gleek

Glee phenomenon hits Palmerston North

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 12:00 31/10/2012
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DAVID UNWIN/Fairfax NZ
SHOW STOPPERS: Massey University Glee club practicing before their performance at the Globe Theatre in Palmerston North.

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The high-wattage Glee phenomenon has shimmied its way from the television screens to Palmerston North.

Massey University students are flying the "Gleek" flag high and proud this semester by putting their stamp on the musical fever that has swept international television audiences with the hit American show Glee.

Madeleine Gray, a first-year Massey science student, is the president of what she believes is Palmerston North's first all-singing, and dancing Glee Club.

The uninitiated may well wonder - what is Glee?

"A Glee Club is a singing, dancing, musical club - so it's any sort of performance that surrounds the music aspect of life," Gray explains.

If the success of the hit show is any indicator, what the stage musical was to the wartime era, Glee is to Generation Y.

Step aside, Gene Kelly. The musical "mash-up" is the new vaudeville and today's triple threats cover Lady Gaga and Lil' Kim in the same breath.

The Glee clique finds its place in the Darwinian pecking order that television would have us believe is American high school, its musical miscreants providing an antithesis to the hackneyed cheerleader and jock squads, located on the "coolness" scale somewhere between the lacrosse team and the maths club.

As with most watershed television ensembles, it was only a matter of time before Glee found its Kiwi expression.

Gray says she is a bit of a Rachel, the tyrannical diva and female lead.

"I am very similar to Rachel - the main character. I am very controlling and I can be very mean."

Like Rachel, she is intent on leading her club to success. Massey's Glee Club won this year's Student City Arts and Cultural Awards for The Arts and Cultural Contribution on campus, and was a finalist for the most promising club.

Unlike Rachel, she allows other talent their moment in the spotlight.

Last week's performance at The Globe Theatre was the club's third and largest, but also its stage debut and final for the academic year - called A Night With Glee, which Gray directed.

"It's a bit of everything. We do a lot of variations of music.

"We've got some really new pop songs - we have a few off Glee, the show, and we've got some old songs. We want people to know the songs we're singing so they can really get into it and just enjoy it."

A Glee Club is also very "democratic", Gray says. "It's for absolutely everyone.

"We've had people who have never sung before, never danced before. People who probably think they can't sing, think they can't dance and can, and incredibly." People can choose what songs they want to perform. But the "mash-up" - a kind of pop medley, takes precedence.

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"It's a ‘moosh', really, for a lack of a better word," Gray says. "A whole collaboration of different music, from different eras. Everyone has the opportunity to sing whatever they want."

Gray says the Glee Club will take on new members when they go back to school for the 2013 academic year.

Auditionees will have to impress Gray, the self-confessed "Gleek".

"I am so big a fan that I actually have videos of the show on my computer that I've cut so I can watch it over and over again.

"I love watching it. I know every song they've ever performed off by heart. Every time I sit there, I'm like, ‘Don't interrupt me, I'm watching Glee'. I'm addicted to it."

Massey students interested in joining Glee Club should email masseyglee@gmail.com.

If you would like your club, group or organisation considered for a profile, email editor@msl.co.nz with ‘Join The Club' in the subject line.

- Manawatu Standard

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