Sisters Christine Powers and Mary Beth Hofmeister both talk about the mystique that surrounds their alma mater, the University of Notre Dame.
"It's a very special place," said Powers, who followed Hofmeister to Indiana after graduating from Catholic High in Troy. "You could walk into any Notre Dame event and feel welcome."
Hofmeister remembers visiting the university at the suggestion of a family friend. She felt the energy of the huge crowd at a football game and reveled in the excitement of an overnight stay on campus. Just like that, she was in love.
For both Powers and Hofmeister, that love didn't end with graduation. They are active members (Hofmeister is president) of the Notre Dame Club of Northeastern New York, which is sponsoring a performance by the university's chorale at St. Pius X in Loudonville on Friday, Jan. 8.
"Notre Dame meant a lot to those of us who were fortunate enough to go there," Hofmeister said. "I felt like I wanted to give back."
The club gives back in a number of ways. It offers a $3,000 scholarship each year to a student from the Capital District who is attending Notre Dame. It sends care packages to local students and holds a send-off party for freshmen each year. There are get-togethers to watch Notre Dame sporting events, including an upcoming trip to Syracuse to see Notre Dame's women's basketball team.
About 10 years ago, the club sponsored a local performance by the Notre Dame chorale, which was "kind of a personal mission" for Powers, who belonged to the chorale during her school days.
Last year, the school's glee club visited the area, and that went so well that someone from the current edition of the chorale contacted Hofmeister to see if the chorale could come to the Albany area during its winter break tour.