Serenading sweethearts

Michael Lewis

Kent State’s Men’s Chorus says ‘I love you’ with singing valentines

A men’s chorus quartet sings “Wild Irish Rose” to Katie Gazzuolo, sophomore business management major, yesterday while she was working at the Bursar’s office in the Michael Schwartz building. The quartet presents singing valentines to people on campus as

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Traveling quartets from Kent State’s Men’s Chorus sang lyrics of love yesterday, serenading unsuspecting valentines across campus and around Northeast Ohio.

For the second year in a row, the singing group offered students and faculty the opportunity to purchase their sweetheart a singing valentine. Lucky guys and gals received one red rose and a personalized Valentine’s Day card along with their one-hit wonder.

For $25, patrons received guaranteed delivery within a four-hour window. Many customers choose to pay $30, narrowing the window of delivery to 10 minutes.

In order to satisfy the nearly 180 requests, the Men’s Chorus, all dressed in black tuxedos, broke off into two quartets and one octet, a group of eight singers.

One four-man team, having hurried from singing at Kent State Stark campus in Canton, drove back to Kent and arrived at Eastway cafeteria for a 2 p.m. performance. The recipient, Renee Hill, sophomore sign language major, beamed as the group sang their best rendition of “Wild Irish Rose.” Hill’s friends were responsible for keeping the window of opportunity open.

“It was a special treat,” Hill said. “I was concerned at first because I was being held here, but it was a good surprise.”

Bryan Kelly, sophomore nursing major and Men’s Chorus singer, said last year a woman in the Business Administration Building started crying during her singing valentine – tears of joy of course.

“It was a good one, probably our best performance,” Kelly said.

Men’s Chorus member Taylor Belling, junior business marketing major, has been singing for three years in the chorus. He said serenading is fun, and the group does their best to accommodate each person and his or her schedule.

“We’re providing a service to the community and brightening their day,” Belling said.

After a 10-minute break, the group stretched their vocal chords and sang for Victoria Higbee, junior theater studies major. Higbee sat smiling as the quartet put on a show.

“It definitely brightened my day,” Higbee said.

Beyond the blushing and the smiles, Higbee enjoyed being caught up in her moment while others in the cafeteria watched and listened.

Nate Cross, sophomore finance major and second-year chorus member, said the quartet performed yesterday morning at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron before a speedy trip to Canton.

“We were lucky there were no police officers,” Cross said.

Cross said proceeds from the valentines will help defray the cost of the group’s Spring Break trip to New York City.

“Hopefully this will make it a whole lot easier on us,” Cross said.

Daniel Porter, junior international relations major and fourth member of the quartet, said he hopes to continue singing valentines.

“You can see the second you look at them that it’s a special moment,” Porter said. “Even though it’s only a few minutes, they’ll always remember it.”

After exiting the cafeteria, the group traveled to Michael Schwartz Center to serenade an employee in the Bursar’s Office.

Katie Gazzuolo, sophomore business management and marketing major, appeared amazed as the gentlemen came through the office door and began singing.

“You guys are amazing,” Gazzuolo said. “My cheeks are so red. They hurt from smiling.”

Many employees at the Bursar’s Office agreed, filling the room with smiles and claps of approval. After a short visit between Cross and Gazzuolo, she sent the men on their merry way by offering them red cupcakes with chocolate icing.

It was difficult to tell who enjoyed this day’s events more, the men singing or the women listening.

Kent State Men’s Chorus will perform a benefit concert March 3 at The Outpost on state Route 43 in Kent.

Contact safety reporter Michael Lewis at [email protected].