Wikipedia describes a Glee Club as a “ musical group or choir group, historically of male voices but also of female or mixed voices, which traditionally specializes in the singing of short songs by trios or quartets. In the late 19th century, it was very popular in most schools and was made a tradition to have in American high schools from then on.”
A men's glee club was first organized at Bridgewater College in the autumn of 1898.
The first BC women’s glee club was called the Victoria Lee Choir and it was founded in 1899.
During the time of Paul H. Bowman's Bridgewater College Presidency of 1919- 1946, the combined Glee clubs usually consisted of 80 members. They typically performed an operetta, an oratorio, or a cantata each year as well as an annual sacred concert. This traveling choral group made Bridgewater College notable around the country with their concerts and radio performances. On May 14th, 1948 and on April 19, 1949 the Men’s and Women’s Glee Club performed at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.
A chapel choir was built from the glee clubs by Professor Nelson T. Huffman in the fall of 1933 and its membership ranged from 12 to 20 people.
During Warren D. Bowman’s 1949 - 1964 tenure as President, glee clubs would traditionally perform Handle's "Messiah" in December of each year, Other notable performances included "The Crucifixion" by John Stainer, Theordore Dubois’ The Seven Last words of Christ", and several of Gilbert & Sullivan's light operettas. From 1964-1980 the glee clubs, both male and female, became the oratorio choir.
Former and current members of the Glee Club held another notable performance on May 29, 1965. The director was Nelson T. Huffman, the organist was Ruth W. Stauffer, and A. Olivia Cool was the pianist for the evening. This was for an audience of over 2,000 people. The event was a special performance because it marked the retirement of Nelson T. Huffman and an end to his 40 years of service at Bridgewater College. He was presented with the Alumnus of the Year Award and gifts from the College and the glee clubs.
By Sherie Davis, Special Collections Intern, 2022
Provisions of Use: Personal and non-profit use only. No cropping or altering of images in any way. Credit each image's source as "The Robert R. Newlen '75 and John C. Bradford Special Collections/Bridgewater College Digital Commons". Consider including a hyperlink to the image hosted on the Bridgewater College Digital Commons.