Yale-Harvard Glee Clubs Join for 100th Anniversary Concert

The Glee Clubs of Yale and Harvard will hold their 100th combined concert in Woolsey Hall on November 19 at 8 p.m., the night before the Yale-Harvard football contest known at both schools as The Game.

Hundreds of alumni of both choruses are expected to attend and lend their voices to the traditional concert finale: the singing, in unison, of both schools’ songs, “Bright College Years” and “Fair Harvard.” Glee Club members, past and present, will hold a private “singing” dinner before the concert. Members of the media can arrange to attend by calling the Yale Office of Public Affairs.

The rivalry between Yale and Harvard is legendary, but the two Glee Clubs have sung together in harmony since 1901, when the first combined concert made front page news on both campuses. The annual football concert tradition has been broken only twice since then: once, during World War II, and again on the day President Kennedy was assassinated.

The Yale Freshman Chorus, directed by Pamela Getnick, and the Yale Glee Club Chamber Singers, directed by Daniel Tapia-Santiago, will also perform at the concert.

Yale will sing several pieces written and arranged for the College, including “Eli Yale,” “Neath the Elms,” and a medley of football songs, plus the traditional student song “Gaudeamus Igitur,” “Lark” and “Promise of Living” by Aaron Copland, a motet by Monteverdi, several spirituals, and “The Lamb,” with words by William Blake and music by long-time Yale Glee Club director Fenno Heath.

The Harvard Glee Club will sing Fenno Heath’s arrangement of “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” as well as folk songs and religious music by Dufay, Biebl and Sandstrom.

The Yale Glee Club currently has 86 members and about 2,200 living alumni, all of whom have been invited to the concert and to a sing-along dinner in Commons beforehand. David H. Connell is the Yale conductor, and Constance DeFotis conducts for Harvard.

Yale’s Glee Club gave its first concert in 1861. Distinguished past members include composer Cole Porter, actor Vincent Price, radio host Lanny Ross, U.S. senators Prescott Bush and James Symington, anti-war activist Reverend William Sloan Coffin, and philanthropist Frederick Rose. Among those expected to attend are Fenno Heath (Class of 1949), who directed the Glee Club from 1953 to 1992, and Ben Cutler (Class of 1926), who played varsity football and sang in the Glee Club. His solo rendition of “Serenade” has long been a highlight of the concert.

Tickets are $10, and may be purchased at the box office on the night of the concert. The concert is free for students of Yale and Harvard. Woolsey Hall is at the corner of College and Elm streets.

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Media Contact

Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325