Celebrating 35 Harmonious Years of the Gentlemen Callers

On March 2, the Gentlemen Callers—alumni and current students—celebrated in song their close ties and love for Wheaton in a pitch-perfect a cappella concert in Weber Theatre that was part of a two-day campus reunion honoring the group’s thirty-five years of song.

“When I was a student, I never imagined that my GC experience would continue and evolve after Commencement,” said Austin Simko ’09, a member of Wheaton’s Board of Trustees and President of the Gentlemen Callers Alumni Board of Directors. “My time in the GCs as a student was important because I got to sing wonderful music and make new friends. As important as that was, my time as a GC alumnus—being part of a growing and enduring community—is perhaps even more important.”

Alex Grover ’09, GC Vice President, agreed with that sentiment. “GC students and alums are passionate. Every five years at reunion, it’s special to see GCs singing together, telling stories, and making new memories that are rooted in the foundation for love of music and friendship.”   

Much of the weekend was devoted to rehearsals for the 35th Reunion Concert. “During our rehearsals, we broke off into small groups to learn parts to our songs before coming back with the bigger ensemble to sing together,” said Alex Grover. “I saw diverse collaboration. Students were leading alums, and alums were helping each other and the students learn the music as efficiently as possible, which made for a dynamic and enjoyable culminating concert.”  

Giving Back

In her remarks at the concert, President Michaele Whelan noted that a number of GCs participating in the reunion had served on Wheaton’s Board of Trustees, including Eric Tomasini ’97, JP Burlington ’99, Christopher Paquet ’03, and Ben White ’12. “Perhaps there is a hidden link between musical ability and trusteeship,” she said. She thanked the Gentlemen Callers for their music, fellowship, and support. “The College’s strength comes in no small measure from your engagement and that of your fellow alums.”

Gentlemen Callers established a Union in 1988 to promote continuous and strong support of Wheaton, to contribute to a thriving Gentlemen Callers, to foster a spirit of fellowship among the Gentlemen Callers alumni, and to promote the arts and performance at Wheaton College. In 2017, the Union raised an endowment to provide ongoing resources to the students and alumni.

Thanks to the Gentlemen Callers Endowed Fund, Austin said, “The Alumni Union will keep growing and finding ways for its members to support one another.” 

For his exceptional commitment to the Gentlemen Callers, Chris Allan ’92, a GC Union founder, was presented with the Eliza’s Son Award.

A Strong Community and Network

Beyond the music, the Gentlemen Callers represent a strong network for Wheaton alumni. “The Gentlemen Callers is a close-knit community that extends beyond Norton and continues after graduation,” said Austin. “It includes students and alumni in a continuously interacting community.”

Alex, as the chorale director at Danvers High School, has “occasionally met with student GCs about going into the music field or to help them with vocal technique and arrangements for the group.”  

Austin said “The GC network has absolutely helped my career. I turn to GCs for advice and even worked with a fellow GC. A key focus area of the Alumni Union moving forward will be actively creating a more intentional approach to alumni-student mentorship. The Alumni Union has a wealth of experience and talents, and we can tap into that for the benefit of students and alumni.”