CHORISTERS IN CONVERSATION: ANDREW L. SECONDINE '18 & CHASE MOHNEY '08

Two former Glee Club VPs chat with Jared Lucky '15 about choirs, careers, and a burning school bus.
Part of a series putting Glee Club alumni across generations in conversation. 

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Chase Mohney ’08 and Andy Secondine ’18 may have shared a title, but these onetime Harvard Glee Club Vice Presidents strike two rather different figures as they walked side-by-side in Harvard Yard last year.

No one would be surprised to learn that Mohney, scruffy-bearded and remarkably tall, hails from Great Falls, Montana. On the other hand, Secondine’s well-coiffed curls and sunkist vibe mark him for the San Diego native he is.

But as they settle into their seats on the patio of Café Pamplona, the café which has been on the corner of Bow and Arrow Streets for decades, these young alums discover that they both owe their singing careers to that harsh mistress, puberty.  A teenage Secondine found himself pressed into choir service after a fortuitous early voice drop, and Mohney was pulled from the pit to the stage after his high-school jazz band conductor heard him humming along with his string bass.

After some youthful experimentation with barbershop and a cappella singing, both found their way into the Glee Club as college freshmen and never looked back.

“Not getting into an a cappella group is one of the better things that happened to me,” Mohney quips.

Fatefully, both earned the, ahem, bacchanalian title of “podium bearer” on their freshmen fall retreats, presaging their later election to the Vice Presidency—a convivial office that some Glee Club members lovingly refer to as the Presidency of Vice. 

If anecdotes are any indication, Mohney inhabited this role, well, gleefully. He recounts some highlights with reportorial relish, foremost among them watching Resident Conductor Mike McGaghie topple backward into a swimming pool during a soundcheck for a spring tour concert and fleeing from a flaming school bus in front of the home of former Glee Club Conductor Jim Marvin.

Secondine is more tight-lipped with his war stories, perhaps for the sake of protecting his constituents. Still, he unearths a few tidbits from the Glee Club’s 2017 Winter Tour to Asia after Mohney tells the (mostly unprintable) tale of a star-crossed summer tour night at Potatoes Muchachos, a Warsaw salsa club.

The conversation takes a slightly more serious turn as Secondine, a former Social Studies concentrator, reflects on his graduation and his thesis on Greek nationalism in Crete.

“I’m looking for something to do for a couple years before grad school,” Secondine says, musing about work for a political campaign.

Mohney, who now works at Facebook but once thought himself destined for a history PhD, can’t help chiming in: “So was I,” he chuckles.

Instead, Mohney found his way into the world of technology, in part as a result of a Glee Club connection. At the suggestion of a Glee Club Foundation member, Mohney applied for his first job at San Francisco-based Trilogy Interactive, LLC a political consulting firm run by Glee Club alumni, Brent Blackaby ’96 and Larry Huynh ’97.

Mohney, who now works for Facebook in San Francisco, credits Blackaby with the single most important piece of career advice he’s received: “Always remember that politics does not attract the best people.”

Secondine receives the wisdom of his elder gratefully but with a wry recognition that Blackaby’s maxim seems a little understated in the current political climate.  Yet both former Vice Presidents aspire to be, as Mohney puts it, West Wing types rather than House of Cards types.


Some “lightning round” questions posed to them:
 

Spirit Animal?
Chase: Grizzly Bear
Andy: *pause* … Brown Bear
 
Favorite film genre?
Chase: Sci-Fi
Andy: *pause* … Sci-Fi Thrillers
 
Best Conductorism?
Chase: “Crease your brains.” – Jim Marvin
Andy: “Whatevs.” – Harris Ipock
 
Best Harvard House?
Chase: Pfoho
Andy: Dunster
 
Go-to order at Border Café?
Chase: Chips and Salsa
Andy: Queso and Guac
 
Preferred Harvard Square establishment?
Chase: Cafe Algiers (RIP)
Andy: Café Pamplona
 
Dogs or Cats?
Chase: Dogs
Andy: Dogs
Jared: Hot dogs
 
Favorite Glee Club piece?
Chase: Thomas Tallis, “Lamentations”
Andy: Dominick Argento, “Harvard Triptych”
 
Favorite Glee Club concert?
Chase: Los Angeles, 2008 North American Tour, Disney Hall Concert
Andy: Japan, 2017 New Years Tour, Fukushima Concert

Posted on August 13, 2018