Social Life and Activities
Glee Club and Choir
While Olive Ruby Henty (ORH) attended Simmons, she participated in the Glee and Mandolin Clubs, as well as the Choir. A flip through her scrapbook will show several programs from these groups and reveal songs that ORH might have sung.
Both of these are singing groups, but what is the difference between the two?
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a glee club is a choral group that sings short pieces, often of popular music. A choir is an organized group of singers, especially those that perform church music or sing in a church.
Glee clubs date back to the Saxons in England. Groups of singers, called "gleemen," were organized into two types--singers and harpers or merrymakers. The "merrymakers" indulged in what were called "glee games," or jests, tricks, or great feats of dexterity to entertain their audiences. By the 18th century, the word glee was applied to the music that gleemen sang and it eventually came to mean music that was sung by non-professional singers.
Choirs, on the other hand, have a long history within the Christian church, and the term specifically denotes those groups that sing religious music. The area of the church where the singers sit is also known as the choir, as is the section of the pipe organ suitable for accompanying singers.
In order to be a member of the Simmons Glee Club, a student like ORH had to be in one of the two choirs. (There were two choirs because only half of the student body could fit into the chapel at a time). The Glee Club was a selective group--only about half of the eighty choir members could be chosen. In 1913, when ORH was involved, the Glee Club gave two annual concerts, one after mid-years and one at Commencement. The Choir, in addition to singing for chapel services, also performed on Christmas, Easter, and Baccalaureate Sunday.
ORH was a member of the Simmons Choir for her freshman and sophomore years, and a member of the Glee Club for her freshman, sophomore, and junior years.back to top
Dictionary.com. (2007). Choir. Retrieved November 24, 2007 from http://dictionary.reference.com/ browse/choir
Dictionary.com. (2007). Glee club. Retrieved November 24, 2007 from http://dictionary.reference.com/ browse/glee%20club
Barrett, W.A. (1886). English glees and part-songs: An inquiry into their historical development. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.