Glee Club alumnus Helms to match gifts 2-1 in final days of fundraising campaign

With two weeks left in the Glee Club’s Dream Matching Challenge, former Glee Club member Mike Helms is offering an incentive to fans and other former members of the male singing ensemble: He and his wife, Martha, will match any donations 2-1 until the club reaches its $100,000 goal.

The Helms originally offered to match donations 1-1 when the campaign launched Jan. 1. As of April 13, the total amount raised through individual donations and the Helms’ matching is $55,000. With Mike and Martha’s most recent offer, the Glee Club needs to raise an additional $15,000 that, when matched 2-1, will bring the club to its $100,000 goal. The campaign ends April 30.

The Dream Matching Challenge was created after Chris Kiver, director of the Glee Club, shared his hopes for the club during its 125th anniversary celebration in 2014. Mike Helms knew he wanted to help an organization that meant so much to him as a Penn State student, so he and Martha offered a dollar-for-dollar match of any gift made to the Glee Club Endowment during the campaign from Jan. 1 through April 30. Mike Helms earned a bachelor of science degree in 1968 and a master of science degree in business in 1974, both from Penn State. 

“I was overwhelmed and humbled. It’s a testament to the incredible experiences the Glee Club offers Penn State students,” said Kiver.

Kiver’s dreams for the Glee Club include funding support in five areas: uniforms, tours, music compositions, retreats and the Penn State Glee Club Men of Song Festival.

“Quite simply, this has the potential to transform how the Glee Club operates,” said Kiver, noting the funds generated will ease the financial burden on Glee Club members. “We will be able to help defray the significant expense of uniform purchase as well as the cost of the annual spring break tour.”

The Glee Club, founded in 1888, has performed across the United States and overseas, including state and divisional conventions of the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME) and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). Recent highlights include performances at the National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C., and Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh. The Glee Club has hosted the Men of Song festival since 2012. The oldest student organization at Penn State, the Glee Club’s members hail from all colleges and schools on the University Park campus.

According to Kiver, donating to the campaign will allow Glee Club alumni to continue to feel connected to a group that was special to them as Penn State students.

“The alumni have already given us so much by singing while they were here at Penn State. The great thing about giving now is that they can continue to feel a part of the Penn State Glee Club family by helping us to become better, to grow and to enable more people to experience the sounds of the Glee Club,” said Kiver.

The Glee Club will present its annual Blue and White Concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 18, in Eisenhower Auditorium. The program features “Sun Our Father,” a piece created for the Glee Club by Canadian composer Sarah Quartel, plus a variety of classical music, music from musical theater shows and plenty of beloved Penn State songs. The concert also includes an 80th anniversary celebration of the Hi-Los, a select group drawn from the Glee Club that’s known for its fun and engaging performances.

Tickets are $12 for an adult and $4 for a student. Tickets are available online at https://oss.ticketmaster.com/aps/psuarts/EN/buy/details/SOMI or by phone at 814-863-0255 or 800-ARTS-TIX. Tickets purchased prior to April 18 are discounted 40 percent off the listed price. Full-price tickets will be available at the door on the evening of the concert.

For more information about the Dream Matching Challenge, visit the Penn State Glee Club website: http://www.pennstategleeclub.com/

Find the Glee Club on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Penn-State-Glee-Club/127627544004452 and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/psugleeclub.

Last Updated April 15, 2015