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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Singing Cadets celebrate 125 years as “The Voice of Aggieland”

The+Singing+Cadets+celebrated+125+years+with+a+weekend+reunion+and+concert.+The+second+half+off+the+concert+featured+almost+400+voices+of+current+and+former+members+of+the+group.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

The Singing Cadets celebrated 125 years with a weekend reunion and concert. The second half off the concert featured almost 400 voices of current and former members of the group.

Nearly 400 Singing Cadets, past and present, took the Rudder Auditorium stage on Saturday to commemorate the 125th anniversary of “The Voice of Aggieland.” 

Over the years, the Singing Cadets have performed on six of the seven continents and even sang at the burial of President George H.W. Bush, a noted fan of the chorus. At the start of the program, David L. Kipp, director of 23 years, introduced the current choir while acknowledging the legacy of the former Singing Cadets. He told the audience that their goal was to get 100 alumni to participate in this celebration, which was widely surpassed.
“We thought we would set a goal and maybe get 100 formers back,” Kipp said. “Then we thought, ‘Well it is our 125th year, let’s make it 250.’ Well, this kept building and building. Tonight’s choir will have on the stage almost 400 people.”  
Since 1893, the Singing Cadets have represented Texas A&M near and far through their songs.  Along with the music, the members create special bonds with their fellow singers. That special bond is still standing strong for former cadets like Gene Holman King, Class of 1955, who made the drive specifically for the anniversary. King was president of the Singing Cadets during his senior year, when A&M was still an all-male military school. King said he looks back fondly on his many memories in the Singing Cadets.
“We rehearsed five days a week at 5 p.m.,” King said. “That was always a special time of the day for me to relax and almost escape from the drudgery of drill and classes. I always looked forward to the fun of the group and singing songs. The concert I remember most was in 1953 when we sang at the State Legislature for the Senate and the House.”
King said his favorite part of being president was getting to lead the chorus in “The Spirit of Aggieland.”
“The honor of being president…[is] that the president conducts the Singing of the Spirit, which is always the opening number of Singing Cadet concerts,” King said.
This tradition was on full display on Saturday. The audience stood to their feet as every Singing Cadet, current and former, began the concert with the familiar tune.
Standing ovations continued throughout the first act, as the current Singing Cadets sang broadway medleys, hymns and lively country songs, including “San Antonio Rose” and “Nighttime in Aggieland.”
In the second act, all members took the stage once again, beginning with a tribute to former director Bob Boone.
Corey Bowers, industrial engineering senior and current president of the Singing Cadets, presented Kipp with a traditional maroon Singing Cadet sweater of his own. The Cadets also performed tributes to the armed forces with songs like “Battle Hymn to the Republic” and “God Bless the USA.”
The concert ended with an emotional rendition of the Scottish folk song “Auld Lang Syne” to honor members who had passed away or could not attend the concert.
Engineering freshman Shane Duckett said it was an honor for him to perform alongside the Singing Cadet
“I think the legacy the formers have left behind is a legacy to live up to,” Duckett said. “There is so much they have done in the past. They have given us the ability to improve upon what they left behind.”
King said the current Singing Cadets have left a similar mark on the lives of alumni.
“I would always tease the [current Singing Cadetes] and ask how they can be any better than we were,” King said. “But they really are. They are an outstanding representation of the school.”

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