5 Questions with…Cooper Schwartz, president of the Case Men’s Glee Club

From the time Cooper Schwartz first visited campus as a prospective student, he felt drawn to Case Men’s Glee Club. 

He saw them perform at an activities fair he attended that day—and it contributed to his feeling that Case Western Reserve University was the best fit for him.

Portrait of Cooper Schwartz, president of the Case Men's Glee Club
Cooper Schwartz

“Everyone in the group looked like they were having fun,” explained Schwartz, now a junior double majoring in mechanical engineering and computer science. “I remember thinking that’s something I want to be a part of.” 

It’s a thought students have had since 1897 when Case Men’s Glee Club first formed at Case Institute of Technology, one of CWRU’s predecessor schools. And it’s one many students might share today as they see the group perform Singing Valentines in recognition of Valentine’s Day. 

Delivered to lucky recipients in classes, meetings and the like, the Singing Valentines take the form of songs such as “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” by Elton John, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley, and “Sh-Boom” by The Crew-Cuts. 

A tradition on campus for over 30 years, the Singing Valentines serve as Case Men’s Glee Club’s annual fundraiser. Proceeds support such activities as the group’s trip to the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Seminar taking place in Albion, Michigan, next month. 

“For $5, you just tell us who the valentine is for, when and where you’d like it delivered, and what song you want us to sing,” Schwartz explained, noting the club splits into three groups to deliver about 180 valentines. “With our deluxe package (for $10) we also deliver a card and a chocolate rose!”

Performing with Case Men’s Glee Club is not the first time Schwartz has sung valentines—the Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, native’s high school glee club held a similar fundraiser, which he remembers as being “a lot of fun.”

“I come from a pretty musical family,” he said,  remembering a time when his parents, both choral singers, took the family to all audition for a community production of The Music Man. Schwartz has loved performing ever since. 

In addition to serving as president of Case Men’s Glee Club, Schwartz is a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity and a tour guide for the Office of Undergraduate Admission. His ability to participate in so many different activities is one of his favorite things about being at CWRU.

With about 58 members, Case Men’s Glee Club rehearses every Monday and Wednesday night from 9-10:30 p.m. in Wade Commons. Though members must attend open rehearsals during the add/drop period if they wish to receive credit for the course, anyone is welcome to come sing at any time. 

If Case Men’s Glee Club doesn’t visit your class today, you can attend one of the club’s upcoming performances. View the group’s performance schedule on the Department of Music website, but first, check out Schwartz’s answers to this week’s five questions. 

1. If you could go back and tell a younger version of yourself something, what would you say? 

Don’t worry about what other people think. It doesn’t matter. That’s something I learned from [the cartoon] Phineas and Ferb—everything they built seemed impossible and everyone told them they couldn’t do it, but in the end it didn’t matter. If you want to do something, do something! The worst thing that happens is it doesn’t work.

2. What’s something you don’t know how to do but would like to learn? 

I want to learn how to arrange songs for a capella, specifically. Not just to sing them—I think it’d be fun to take a song and make it my own. 

3. What’s next on your reading list? 

I want to finish a book my friend got me for Hanukkah called Invisible Planets. It’s a collection of short science fiction stories by Chinese authors and translated by Ken Liu, a translator who I like. The main author of the book [Cixin Liu] wrote The Three-Body Problem series, which I’d recommend. 

4. If you could be any age forever, what would you be and why? 

Eight. When you’re 8, everything you do is because you like it and it’s fun. Sure, you might mess up sometimes, but you’re 8 and those problems aren’t big; you’ll forget about them in an hour. Having fun is really all you have to do! 

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve? 

I love that I’ve been able to take classes in a bunch of different subjects here and didn’t have to choose my major right away. At other colleges I would have been stuck in the program I selected on my application materials, but being able to try out a number of different specialities has been really helpful.