The Men's Glee Club runs through their pre-concert routine
The Men's Glee Club runs through their pre-concert routine Photo: Colin Shimrock

Best Kept Fitness Secrets of Miami's Musicians: Sun Salutations for Singers

Rise and shine, gentlemen

Second of a three-part series, Best-Kept Fitness Secrets of Miami's Musicians

By Karen O'Hara, university communications and marketing

At 6:15 a.m. on a recent Saturday in Chicago, student David Dabney led 90 of his fellow Miami Men’s Glee Club members through their warm-ups—their yoga warm-ups, that is. This was Step 1 of conductor Dr. Jeremy D. Jones’ strategic pre concert regimen.

The Men’s Glee Club was one of 16 choirs invited to perform at the Central & North Central Division Conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), in Chicago Feb. 14-17. While this was a great honor, it also presented some challenges.

“We were assigned to perform during the final concert for invited choirs on Saturday morning, Feb. 17,” Jones said. “The concert session began at 9 a.m. with the Columbus International Children’s Choir, followed by a professional chamber choir from Detroit at 9:30 a.m., concluding with the MU Men’s Glee Club at 10:00 a.m.”

Because the Glee Club is accustomed to performing concerts in the evening, a morning concert is unusual for them. Their weekly rehearsals are also later in the day—Monday evenings and Tuesday/Thursday afternoons.

But this wasn’t Dr. Jones’ first rodeo.

“I often tell my singers that singing is a full-bodied and athletic event,” he said. “It requires full mental and physical preparation and execution.” Accordingly, he put his early morning concert plan into action.

The Glee Club arrived in Chicago on Friday evening. After sound check, they enjoyed a group dinner with time to relax and share a bit of brotherhood.

Leader Dave Dabney demonstrates sunrise salutationThe following morning began with a 5:45 a.m. wake-up call. Then came the 6:15 a.m. yoga session, followed by breakfast at 7:15 a.m.

By 7:45 a.m., everyone was heading back to their rooms to change. By 8:30 a.m., they were loading the motor coaches and heading to the performance site.

Dabney reflected on the holistic benefits of yoga for singers. He says, “Exercise activates the core, which wakes up the mind. Yoga is great, especially Vinyasa sequences, because it pumps oxygen throughout the body, including the brain. And the repetitive sequences create a state of flow, allowing the mind to relax and focus on one thing.”

A Proven Formula

“The morning yoga session was a great benefit to our guys,” Jones said. “It allowed us to prepare mentally, physically, and emotionally before performing. The scripted exercises that Dave prepared—stretching and breathing—allowed us to be fully awake and aware.”

In fact, two other well-received morning concerts featured yoga warmups: a January 2017 performance in Grand Rapids for the Michigan Music Educators Conference, and a February 2014 performance at the ACDA Central Division Conference in Cincinnati (video below).

Take five, guys. You've earned it!

Video Transcription

Wedding Qawwali - Miami University Men's Glee Club - A.R. Rahman / arr Ethan Sperry


Sohna mera sohna, mahi sohna.
Mera rang de lalaariya.
Rang de deupatta mera, rang de lalaariya.
Mere hathon me laga de rang mehendi lalaariya.
Mil gaya, mujhe mil gaya
Rahmaton ka rang khil gaya.
Sab gale mile shagun manye e
Sajna ke geet sunaye e
Paraji Pera Liya.


Read parts one and three of the series:

Best Kept Fitness Secrets of Miami's Musicians: Music in Motion

Best Kept Fitness Secrets of Miami's Musicians: Mind over Movement