The UNI Varsity Men's Glee Club
Founded on October 1, 1960, by Dr. Les Hale, the UNI Varsity Men's Glee Club was established when UNI was still the Iowa State Teacher's College. The Glee Club's first Spring Concert was performed in Lang Hall Auditorium in 1961. The Glee Club began producing and performing in the annual Christmas Variety Shows in 1978 in Russell Hall. In 2000 the Glee Club moved to the 1500-seat Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. To date, the Glee Club claims more sold out performances in the Great Hall than any other student or professional group. The Glee Club has performed across the state of Iowa, throughout the Midwest, and around the world on tours, traveling internationally every other year since 1980 and performing in Austria, the Czech Republic, England, Holland, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and Wales.
The UNI Varsity Men's Glee Club has created unforgettable memories for each member of the group. Over 1000 UNI alumni share a bond forged in music and a true spirit of camaraderie as brothers in song. You can join the tradition.
Dr. Les Hale founded the UNI Varsity Men's Glee Club and during his 14 year tenure created one of the most popular groups on the UNI campus. Dr. Hale introduced "Brothers, Sing On!" to the Glee Club, and the anthem is still performed every year. In 1989 Dr. Hale was awarded the ICDA Distinguished Career award and is the namesake for the endowment fund ensuring the future of the Glee Club, the Les Hale Endowment Fund. Dr. Hale lives in Cedar Falls with his wife, Colleen.
Mr. Bob Byrnes became the director of the UNI Varsity Men's Glee Club in 1974 and led the group to unprecedented success during his 30 year tenure. In 1978, under Byrnes' direction, the Glee Club began producing and performing the annual Christmas Variety Show, which is now a perennial favorite of audience members from across the Midwest. In 1980 Byrnes took the Glee Club to Germany, making the Glee Club the first UNI ensemble to perform in Europe and establishing a tradition of travel for the Glee Club. In 2004 the Glee Club suffered a tragic loss when Bob suffered a major stroke. Glee Club members and alumni gathered outside his hospital room and sang "Brothers, Sing On!" as Bob took his last breath. Bob died at the age of 54. In May of 2014, ten years after Bob's death, the Glee Club and Glee Club Alum gathered at dusk by the Campanile and held a vigil in Bob's memory. They told stories, listened to the Campanile bells, and sang in his honor. (Click here to see photos from the Bob Byrnes Memorial Vigil.)
Dr. Brad Barrett became the Glee Club director in 2004 and also taught choral conducting and music education at UNI. Dr. Barrett successfully led the Glee Club on tours to England, Ireland, Wales, and Poland. Under Dr. Barrett's leadership, the Glee Club grew to it's largest size—at one point including nearly 3 percent of the male student population at UNI.
Dr. Fred Kiser became the director of the UNI Varsity Men's Glee Club in 2009 and also taught UNI Singers, choral conducting, and music education at UNI. Dr. Kiser successfully led the Glee Club on a tour through Italy, conducting the Glee Club in mass at St Peter's Basilica in Rome.