The Harvard Glee Club
An ensemble of approximately sixty tenor and bass voices, the Harvard Glee Club is among America’s oldest collegiate choruses. Since our founding in 1858, we have sought to cultivate and sustain the art of men’s choral music through regular concerts in Sanders Theatre as well as performances on the road at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Disney Concert Hall in LA, and the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria. Keeping with this tradition, our most recent tour took us to East Asia, where we had the privilege of performing in Taipei’s National Concert Hall, Tokyo’s Kioi Hall, and in Gunsan’s City Hall.
The Harvard Glee Club’s membership is comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students, with interests and concentrations ranging from Applied Mathematics to Sociology. One of our many goals as a choir is to provide diverse ways for students to bridge their varying interests and backgrounds and express their shared love of music. The choir’s status as a student-run 501(c)(3) non-profit provides our members opportunities for leadership and arts management including planning and executing multi-week international tours, organizing concerts with collaborating universities, and marketing the Glee Club’s concerts and merchandise.
The Glee Club’s a cappella subset, Glee Club Lite, allows students to arrange, conduct, and perform their own pieces. This smaller pop-driven ensemble expands our normal repertoire with performances that include everything from Disney tunes to jazz. In addition, the Glee Club has a working relationship with the Choir of Men and Boys at All Saints Church in Dorchester, MA. The Glee Club’s first conductor, Archibald T. Davison, served as choirmaster there before joining the Harvard Music Department in 1910.
Our repertoire has historically drawn from the collegiate, folk, and sacred music of Europe and North America, incorporating pieces dating from the Renaissance onward. The Glee Club regularly performs choral-orchestral masterworks from these genres with the other two Harvard Choruses: the Radcliffe Choral Society and the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum. To foster the growth and vitality of men’s choral repertoire, the Glee Club has commissioned pieces from composers such as Morten Lauridsen, Robert Kyr, and Sir John Tavener. In 2015, we premiered John Muehleisen’s The Field, written for the sesquicentennial of the end of the American Civil War. This year, we worked with New York-based composer Paul Moravec to unveil a set of works entitled Winter Songs.
The Glee Club strives to provide a unique musical experience for all members through excellence in performance, student management, education, and community. A brotherhood of song, the Glee Club ventures to serve as a testament to the preservation of men’s choral music and our four cardinal virtues: glee, good humor, unity, and joy.