The Cadet Glee Club has served as a strategic messaging arm of West Point, bringing the Academy to communities across the nation, for more than 100 years. The Brad and Kathy Hildreth ’83 Cadet Glee Club Endowment was established earlier this year as a direct result of Hildreth’s experience while she was a USMA cadet. She explained that the Glee Club was by far the best part of her West Point experience and some of her best friendships were made while traveling with the club.
While at the Academy, Hildreth found music and the arts to be a great outlet for both using her talents and getting away from the Academy to gain greater perspective on life outside its gates. The Glee Club, in addition to being a fun activity, took her all over the country to perform. Hildreth said, “we stayed largely with host families in communities. Some were grads but most were just incredibly gracious and patriotic people in the cities we visited who loved the entertainment and finding out more about life at West Point. When you share your stories with those hosts, you step back from the everyday challenges you have and better appreciate what you are achieving.”
Opportunities such as the Glee Club, outside of a cadet’s formal daily structure, allow for personal and professional growth. The Academy takes these Margin of Excellence supported opportunities just as seriously, in part, because cadets are as likely to learn from one another in a club environment as they are in a classroom. These activities give cadets a chance to put into practice the character and leadership skills instilled through their training and studies. Cadet clubs are vital leadership labs, calling for many of the same abilities expected of our combat leaders.
When describing her support of West Point and her decision to join the West Point Ready campaign cabinet, Hildreth said, “I have been incredibly blessed by my education and Army skills that led me to a career and business that would not have been possible without those experiences. Giving back is a way to express that gratitude and share with new generations of the Long Gray Line. If I can assist in supporting some of those activities that allow cadets some outlets to the rigors of cadet life, I believe it’s incredibly important to developing well-rounded leaders.” Further, she believes supporting your alma mater is a powerful way to directly influence the environment at West Point and use your voice.
It is an exciting time for the West Point Glee Club. Hildreth’s support comes on the heels of the Egner Hall Renovation Project, which will upgrade the Glee Club’s rehearsal space into a state-of-the-art permanent home base for the club. Thanks to generous support from Marcia Randall (widow of Robert D. Randall ’56) and Peter Krause ’67, construction is underway and is expected to be complete in mid-2023. A digital acoustic system will significantly improve practice conditions to expedite learning, improve team skills, and reinforce individual technique.
Installing recording capability in the Glee Club room will increase public outreach through more frequent recording and will enable them to capture organic, acoustic performance. After a long history at West Point, it is a new chapter for the Glee Club with many new opportunities on the horizon for future cadets to experience.