Glee club

Carolers coalesce with glee

The Stanford Glee Club appears in the first issue of the Stanford yearbook (Quad, 1895), followed by the formation of a women’s glee club in 1896. The Glee Club performed independently both on and off-campus, and occasionally accompanied dancers, as in the Glee Club Depression Dance on March 3, 1933. Many of their proceeds went to charitable organizations. A 1923 musical review from the Quad encapsulates the Glee Club’s variegated repertoire and international prestige: “The Glee Club has gained a well-founded reputation for presenting music which requires finishing technique as well as the ‘popular’ songs. Among the evidences of the reputation the organization has gained was an invitation received last fall from President Obregon on the part of the Mexican government, asking the club to tour the republic and offering free transportation. Only lack of time prevented an acceptance.”

Freshman Glee

Freshman Glee Dance, 1897 Quad

 

Several decades later, the Glee Club’s membership waned and became increasingly marginalized. Responding to students’ request for more professional training, Professor of Music and Choral Activities Director William Ramsey took the collective under his wing and integrated it into the Music Department. Ramsey’s graduate students treated the singers as a sort of lab group to refine, rehearse, and direct in performance. In the early 1990s, the Glee Club more or less became subsumed in the University Singers, a concert choir that performs at Memorial Church and is currently directed by Dr. Robert Huw Morgan.

Featured image: Glee Club group portrait in the Stanford Quad, 1895