Coleman’s decade of work celebrated with concert

By Martha Spalding

Fifty-nine tuxedo-clad men marched onto the stage at Foellinger Great Hall at the Krannert Center, singing “Illini March” as part of the Varsity Men’s Glee Club performance Saturday night.

In honor of Dad’s Weekend and Doctor Barrington Coleman’s tenth year as director of the glee club, the Women’s Glee Club, The Other Guys and the Varsity Men’s Glee Club held a concert entitled, “A Decade of Doc.” Two alumni guests, Steven Hackman and Doctor Michael Acquaviva, also participated in honoring Coleman.

The concert was a way for the glee club to thank and honor Coleman for his commitment to the group. Throughout the show, Coleman expressed his gratitude.

“I’m humbled to have been a part of music making over the last 10 years,” he said during the concert.

Annelise Morris, freshman in LAS, said she thought the concert was really well received and that all groups who performed did an excellent job. As a member of Women’s Glee Club, she also said singing during Dad’s Weekend was a great way to showcase the three groups.

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“The concert was a good opportunity to let our parents see what we do in choir,” she said.

Coleman expressed his desire to bring back all of the alumni involved in musical careers, but said he was so happy to have Hackman return.

Hackman is a 2001 University alumnus in piano performance. He is now a freelance composer, accompanist and conductor based in Philadelphia. For the concert, he conducted a piece he composed, “Kyrie,” and dedicated it to Coleman and the glee club. Hackman said this was only the second time he conducted a piece he wrote.

“It’s a huge honor for me to be here,” Hackman said during the concert. “My first experience was here and now to be performing a piece of my own is amazing.”

Hackman, 25, was also a former member of the glee club and The Other Guys throughout his four years at the University. He said his continued drive to be a musician is partly due to Coleman’s versatility and encouragement during college.

“Doctor Coleman asked me to conduct Glee Club on occasion,” he said. “I developed my skills as a leader and conductor actually first in the Glee Club and The Other Guys.”

Playing piano by ear at the age of eight, Hackman said music is something he has always wanted to pursue. After graduating from the University, Hackman attended Curtis Institute of Music in April 2001 to study conducting. In 2004, he received a full fellowship to the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, which helped him foster his own performance career.

Even though Hackman graduated in piano performance, he said he became interested in conducting because of his love for orchestral pieces.

“A lot of the greatest music is actually for orchestras and chorus,” he said. “I had a choral and piano emphasis in college, and I wanted to try conducting orchestras.”

That’s exactly what Hackman is doing. He’s currently the assistant conductor of the Reading Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania. For Hackman, this isn’t enough.

“I decided I wouldn’t be happy just having conducting be my thing,” he said. “I wanted to do everything. I’ve had to create my own opportunities.”

Currently, Hackman is trying a little bit of everything. He recently produced and recorded a studio album, “Steven Hackman’s Second Album.” The album was recorded using only piano and voice and features 15 tracks of original material.

Hackman also performed at the University on Oct. 19 with The Other Guys in the Illini Union courtyard. He played an hour show of his own original music.

Hackman knows he wants to be a performer for years to come, but he said the immediate future isn’t so certain.

“I was just thinking on my way over here, wow, what’s next,” he said. “What am I doing next? I’m already thinking back to the drawing board. When you’re freelancing, you have to create your own work. It’s a day-to-day, month-to-month thing.”

With ambition and determination for his music, Hackman is ready to take on his next project, whatever it may be.

“I’m pursuing everything right now,” Hackman said. “I’m really pursuing it all at once. I don’t just want to do one thing.”