Chorus delivers Cupid’s message

Amadeus Smith

Men’s vocal group adds some warmth, personality to a cold Valentine’s Day

Susan England, wife of David England, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services, received a rose from the Men’s Chorus yesterday evening during a dinner at the men’s basketball game. The Men’s Chorus spent yesterday delivering singing Va

Credit: Jason Hall

Last night, Kent State President Lester Lefton treated his wife, Linda, and other banquet attendees to a rendition of “Let Me Call you Sweetheart” sung by an octet from Kent State’s Men’s Chorus.

Moments before the singing Valentine took place, the eight men in black tuxedos stood in a horseshoe shape behind the coat racks just outside and harmonized.

After climbing the staircase to a higher dining level, which resembled a balcony, the group began the song and everyone took a break from their desserts.

Members of the octet presented roses to eight women in the banquet.

Graduate assistant Michael Martin delivered one to Linda Lefton.

“What lady would ever say no to a rose,” Linda said with a smile. “It has water in the bottom – it may freeze before I get it home.”

The chorus included Doug Bailey, sophomore musical theater major; Robert Dumovic, senior flight technology major; Rob Decker, junior broadcast news major; Taylor Belling, senior accounting major; Bryan Kelly, junior exercise physiology major; Nate Cross, junior finance major and Daniel Porter, senior political science major.

But the singing Valentine wasn’t limited to administration and friends.

Earlier in the day Martin, Bailey, Dumovic and Decker delivered singing Valentines as a quartet around Kent, Ravenna and Stow. The others traveled to Canton to make the musical deliveries.

Kyle Berkley, junior music education major and freshman music major Betsy Stirbens stood in the middle of the open lobby next to the line at Rosie’s Cafe, which stretched past the designated rope despite the mountains of white powder just outside. Berkley shifted his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the room.

The four men in black saw him and rushed over.

“Should we do this here or … ” Martin said.

“Yeah, this is fine,” Berkley said.

The quartet began to sing a personalized version of “My Wild Irish Rose.”

Berkley stood back taking photos of Stirbens, who hugged a single red rose and a Valentine’s Day card signed by Berkley.

“I loved it,” Stirbens said. “It was perfect. I’m a surprise kind of girl.”

Berkley, however, was concerned about the sweet serenade.

“I was worried,” he said. “Being a snow day, I didn’t know what they would do – if I would get a refund or what.”

The quartet showed up though, singing to Stirbens in front of everyone in Rosie’s.

But she wasn’t embarrassed.

“That’s right, I have a Valentine,” she said.

The group even rescheduled appointments to meet to adjust to the school closing.

Freshman marketing major Lyndsay Brown had initially scheduled a singing Valentine to take place during her first year colloquium class.

Instead, she had the quartet surprise her boyfriend Adam Piper, freshman pre-medicine major, at his dorm room in Stewart Hall.

“Don’t worry, we’re not the government,” Dumovic said as the group entered.

Piper lounged back in a chair next to a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Piper lifted his head and twitched when he saw Martin.

Decker handed him the rose and, with a Hawaiian Tropic poster as their back curtain, they began to sing.

A group of dorm residents gathered outside the door and Brown stood off to the side, giggling.

The dorm mates cheered and clapped as the group finished.

“It was nice that school was canceled,” said Piper, noting he would be much more embarrassed if it took place in class.

The two groups delivered a total of 30 live singing Valentines yesterday and others from the chorus delivered 27 phone singing Valentines.

Martin said, so far, all of the clients with canceled appointments donated the money without receiving a singing Valentine.

Contact general assignment reporter Amadeus Smith at [email protected].