Fifty years of The Hangovers has allowed fathers, brothers and sons to share the delights of the official all-male a cappella group on campus known for their original jazz, pop and choral arrangements and parodies.
Rick Dehmel ’68, known by the group as “Big Daddy,” founded the Hangovers in 1968 after he and a group of Glee club members wanted to sing in a small a capella group. “The sound we had as a summer pick-up group was particularly good,” Dehmel said.
The initial group was about eight or nine members big for the first three years. Over their half-century on campus, The Hangovers have had both undergraduate and graduate student members, in addition to having members follow the paths of their fathers or brothers, showing how important being a member in The Hangovers is to an alumni’s relatives.
The group’s name originated from the fact that “three of the original members were in five-year engineering or architecture programs and the fifth year was called the ‘hangover’ year,” Dehmel said.
The Hangovers were founded in The Glee Club’s 100th year and are a subset of the organization. The Glee Club, founded in 1868, is an all-male choir of approximately 60 Cornell students. It is Cornell’s oldest student organization and has had recent performances at Carnegie Hall, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Kennedy Center and the Lincoln Center.
Jon Wardner ’79 said that being both in the Glee Club and The Hangovers, going to rehearsals and performances for both groups, keeps members busy. “It’s remarkable that the Hangs have been able to thrive for five decades, following a demanding schedule of rehearsals, performances, recording and travel, while putting the Club’s schedule first, and still managing not to flunk out of Cornell.”
Cody Fiduccia, CIPA ’17 and current Ph.D. student at Cornell, said that “it’s much easier to push through a day of instruction, seminars, or library work knowing that I have a performance with the Hangs later in the evening. Being in the Hangovers has afforded me the opportunity to keep music a present part of my life; something for which I’m eternally grateful.”
“Sure … different songs are added to our permanent repertoire,” said Tim Chan, ’21. “However, at its core, the Hangovers have always been about brotherhood and musicianship and still remains so today.”
The Hangovers perform two large concerts each year, in the fall and spring semesters, in addition to several annual archsings, concerts for Greek life organizations and charity events. The group has also toured internationally, including in the United Kingdom, Spain and Hong Kong.
“As founder, words can’t describe the immense joy I get from hearing Hangovers of all generations,” Dehmel said. “I am so grateful for the experience of being in the group.”
In looking towards the future, Dehmel believes in “the stability of the Glee Club to provide an enduring foundation and musical preparation that will have the future generations of Hangovers reach ever new performance and entertainment heights and experiences.”
The Hangovers 50th Anniversary Concert will be held on November 10 at 8 p.m. at Bailey Hall. 150 alumni of the group are expected to attend the concert.