Founded by students in 1858, the Harvard Glee Club is among America’s oldest collegiate choruses. An ensemble of about sixty tenor and bass voices, the Glee Club strives to cultivate the rich traditions of men’s choral music in the 21st century. In addition to over a century of concerts in Sanders Theatre, the Glee Club has performed in numerous venues, such as Strasbourg Cathedral in 1921 and the Audience Hall of the Vatican in 1973, and will perform in Taipei’s National Concert Hall in January 2017. This long and continuing tradition of performance serves as a testament to the universal power of choral music and to the Glee Club’s passion and excellence in performance.
Throughout the Glee Club’s history, its repertoire has drawn from Renaissance, Romantic, and contemporary styles, as well as folk music and college songs. As part of the Harvard Choruses, the Glee Club performs one choral masterwork each year with the Radcliffe Choral Society and the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum. The Glee Club’s student conducted a cappella subset, Glee Club Lite, performs classic pop and contemporary hits.
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 Stephen Paulus. Recent premieres include John Muehleisen’s The Field, written for the sesquicentennial of the end of the American Civil War in 2015.
Though few of the Glee Club’s alumni pursue musical careers, the group’s status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit provides opportunities for leadership and arts management experience to its members. A veritable brotherhood spanning generations and geographic space, the Glee Club looks forward to shaping the future of men’s choral music and to spreading glee, good humor, unity, and joy to new generations of audiences.