Senior Mike DePodwin embraces tradition as Penn State Glee Club president

Lauren Blum
April 06, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When senior architectural engineering student Mike DePodwin sings the Penn State Alma Mater for the last time in his college career at graduation in May, the moment will be bittersweet.

DePodwin has been performing the alma mater, Penn State fight songs and other choral pieces for nearly three years as a member and now president of the Penn State Glee Club.

“When we sing Penn State songs, it is really cool to think that 100 years ago and 100 years from now they are going to be singing the same exact things,” DePodwin said. “It’s that lineage of old-fashioned collegiate pride that maybe sometimes we forget when we are here day to day.”

Before coming to Penn State, DePodwin always had a passion for music and was actively involved in his high school’s choir and marching band. During his first two years of college, he played in different musical groups on campus, but he decided to branch out during his junior year and join the glee club.

DePodwin said he knew soon after joining the glee club that it was a perfect fit for him. He decided to commit to the organization, invest more time and eventually ran successfully for president last year.

The group practices twice a week and prepares for both formal and more intimate performances at Eisenhower Auditorium, the Penn State Homecoming parade, halftime at football games, award ceremonies and other events locally and even internationally, he said.

This summer, DePodwin and several members will go on tour in Iceland where they will have the opportunity to perform and explore the area from May 16-24. He said the group will be based in the capital of Reykjavík and will stay at local homes to cut down on price and learn more about Icelandic culture.

Typically while on tour, the club performs at high schools and elementary schools providing Penn State outreach and offering children a glimpse into how a college choir operates, DePodwin said. They also perform at churches and sometimes have the opportunity to partner and sing with local groups.

DePodwin appreciates the diverse dynamic that the nearly 70 members bring to the club. Because people join from all majors and many take it as an elective, he said it proves that the members are there because they are passionate and want to keep the tradition.

“The football games are awesome and THON is awesome, too, but where we came from as a small university and how we are able to sing the same songs they did in the beginning is an incredible way to pass on tradition,” he said.

Last Updated April 06, 2016