"What they like to do is stop where there's a really robust alumni community," Powers said. The Notre Dame Club of Northeastern New York fits the bill, with about 400 people on its mailing list.
Both Powers and Hofmeister noted that Notre Dame's alumni clubs are unusual in that members didn't have to attend Notre Dame. So-called subway alumni, or "people who just loved the school" are also welcome, Hofmeister said.
The local club was more than happy to have the chorale come. It doesn't have to cover travel expenses " the chorale pays for bus transportation " but club members do give students a place to sleep. Powers said the alumni group has also arranged for the chorale to have a tour of the state Capitol.
Steve Santay, a Notre Dame junior and vice president of the chorale, said staying with alumni is one of the highlights of the annual winter tour, which this year makes stops in Pittsburgh; Washington, D.C.; Basking Ridge, N.J.; New York City; and Framingham, Mass., before hitting Albany. On Saturday, Jan. 9, the tour wraps up with a performance in Cleveland, Ohio.
Santay said the chorale has about 60 students and is open to all fields of study. An engineering major, Santay joined the chorale because "I wanted to do something outside of math and science."
A Chicago native, Santay said he wanted to attend Notre Dame all his life. The school's history was a draw, along with the powerful experiences of going to Mass, praying at the Grotto on campus and, of course, he said with a laugh, football games.
Santay figures that when he graduates, he'll join an alumni club himself, hoping like Powers and Hofmeister for a chance to give back.
Hofmeister said that the alumni club's mission of giving back extends beyond just Notre Dame students and alumni, since service is one of the hallmarks of the school. Each May, the club holds a service day, doing things like working on a Habitat for Humanity project. It also sends a local educator to a conference at Notre Dame each year, with a principal from Shenendehowa going last year, and it hosts an annual visit to a local college by a Notre Dame professor.