CUGC Alums & Friends
Year by Year

Annual Summaries

 

Detailed history on the Columbia University Glee Club is spotty.  Can you help fill it in?


  • Some information can be found in yearbooks until about 1970, when coverage of undergraduate activities shifted radically. 
  • Subject files in the Rare Books and Manuscript Library in Butler contain a small amount of material, from the occasional memo to programs from long-forgotten performances.  Again, there is little after 1970.
  • Calls for historical material at the 2010 Reunion event produced some additions, mostly from the 1960s and 1980s.  We continue especially to lack material from the 1970s, 1990s and 2000s. 
  • Internet searches produce some news clippings, mostly from The New York Times and mostly before 1965.

 

The Year-by-year summary below aggregates documented information in a common format for each year.  To review, download the .pdf file and search (Control-F) for your year(s) of interest.

 

Please communicate additions or corrections here.  If you can provide documentation that can be added to the library files, such as programs, rosters, memos, posters, photos, letters, etc., that will be greatly appreciated.

 

The .pdf file, which is dated, will be updated when additions warrant.

Concerts and Repertory

 

Another perspective on the Glee Club's history can be gained from repertory performed over the years.  To the extent programs exist, they mostly document the "big" concerts, such as annual Holiday and Spring concerts.  

 

The Concerts/Repertory summary below lists documented concerts with repertory by season, showing known date and venue as well as source, such as concert programs, recordings and news reports.


There is some overlap with the Annual Summaries but not all performances listed there appear in this document.


To review, download the Excel file and search (Control-F) for your year, repertory or venue of interest.

 

Please communicate additions or corrections here.  If you can provide programs that can be added to the library files, that will be appreciated.

 

The Excel file, which is dated, will be updated when additions warrant.

Glee Club Directors


From its founding in 1873 through World War I, the Glee Club's music directors were mostly students or alumni.  S.Austen Pierce, Mus.Doc.Oxon. and an instructor in the Department of Music, led the group from 1877 to 1880.  While not faculty, Arthur D. Woodruff, a well-known choral conductor in his day, also directed the club during the 1880s.  He went on to found the University Glee Club in 1894 with Columbia Glee Club alumni J.T.Walker and A.M.Cox, who had continued singing after graduation as the Columbia Alumni Glee Club.


From 1920 until 1949, instructors in the Department of Music provided musical direction, including Professor of Church and Choral Music Walter Henry Hall, who composed an Alma Mater for the club still sung today.


From 1949 until the present, student singers and the administration overseeing student activities have appointed the club's music directors.  Among these have been the two longest-serving directors: J. Bailey ("Oats") Harvey (1952-1969) and Warren H. Brown (1976-2001).

 

The .pdf file, which is dated, will be updated when additional information received warrants.