Over spring break, the 50 men of the Cornell University Glee Club went on an 11-day tour through Brazil that included five cities, 11 concerts, thousands of audience members and one lost passport. The passport belonged to Graham Anderson ’05 and was in a bag that was taken during the group’s final concert, which was in Rio de Janeiro Friday. The bag was in a room at the back of the auditorium where the Glee Club performed. Anderson recalled seeing it during intermission, but could not find the bag after the concert was over.
“Somewhere in that time, we don’t know if it was a janitor, if it was locals, or students — there were tons of people outside in the hallways, but the bag got snatched up, and unfortunately, the passport and all the legal documentation and money was in there,” said Jon Hampton ’04, who was one of the tour organizers for the trip.
“I was looking for it, it just wasn’t there,” Anderson said. “We went back and looked the next morning, too.”
“So we called the consulate, and they said you can’t get out of the country or into America without it. It was Friday night, so they said Monday morning you have to come in and get a new one,” Hampton said.
Because Anderson had a photocopy of his passport, he and Hampton called the airlines to see if a copy would suffice. “They said there was a chance, but really there was no chance,” Hampton said.
When the group went to the airport on Saturday afternoon, Anderson took the photocopy of his passport but was unable to pass through immigration. “We talked to the police, and they left it up to the embassy, but they said no. We filled out a police report, and [the rest of us] left,” Hampton said.
Anderson remained in Brazil with Ryan Sarsfield ’01, a Glee Club alumnus living in Brazil who helped organize the tour.
“It’s not a bad place to be stranded — Rio. There’s nothing you could do, it was Sunday. We stayed in a hostel in Copacabana for two nights. On Monday morning we went to the consulate, and they had it done within an hour. They told me to show up for my flight seven hours early because of the federal police strike, so I did, and then they didn’t open immigration until four hours before the flight,” Anderson recalled.
Anderson returned to New York on Tuesday and was back in Ithaca by Wednesday.
Though the lost passport provided an unexpected conclusion to the tour, it did not detract from the feeling of success and satisfaction the group felt upon the tour’s completion.
The club’s first concert was in S