Yale Glee Club Appoints Jeffrey Douma Its Seventh Director
The historic Yale Glee Club is pleased to announce the appointment of Jeffrey Douma as its new director.
Currently director of Choral Activities at Carroll College, Douma becomes the seventh director in the illustrious 142-year history of the Yale Glee Club.
Douma is on the conducting faculty at Interlochen National Arts Camp. Previously, he taught at Smith College and St. Cloud State University (Minnesota), and he served as Chorusmaster and guest conductor of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Ontario.
A professional singer, Douma is a member of Chicago’s prestigious chamber choir, Bella Voce. His vocal performances have been under the baton of such eminent conductors as Helmut Rilling, Sir Neville Mariner, Robert Shaw and Dale Warland. Douma earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Concordia College, nationally renowned for its choral music program. He holds both Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Choral Conducting from the University of Michigan. At both Concordia and Michigan he held choral conducting assignments.
Robert Blocker, dean of the Yale School of Music and chair of the Search Committee, commented that “Jeffrey Douma is a choral conductor of considerable talent. Students, faculty, alumni and the Search Committee were enthusiastic about his musical abilities and interpersonal skills. I am confident he will provide exemplary leadership for the Glee Club.”
Douma is married to Erika Schroth, a pianist. The Doumas and their two-year-old daughter will move to New Haven this summer, and he will begin his duties August 1.
The Yale Glee Club began as 13 men of the class of 1863, singing folk and school songs locally and on tour with the accompaniment of banjos and guitars. Cole Porter, perhaps its most illustrious alumnus, was president of the Club in 1913.
In 1921 Marshall Bartholomew began a 32-year tenure as director, adding serious classical music to the repertoire. Following his retirement in 1953, Fenno Heath took over. Under his baton, the Club grew and evolved into the 90-member chorus of men and women that it is today. In 1992, David Connell became the group’s sixth Director, maintaining the traditional program format, which includes motets and madrigals, folksongs, spirituals and songs of Yale. Douma will follow Timothy Snyder, the interim director for the current season.
The Glee Club has sung in every principal city in the United States, taking annual winter tours of five or six cities. Frequent summer tours have taken the Glee Club abroad. In 1941, 1961 and 1968 the Club toured in South America. In 1965, the group did a world tour, singing in Asia and the U.S.S.R. for the first time. In 1970, the men’s and women’s choruses made an international tour together, visiting eight countries of western Europe. The two choruses, which had existed separately during the first year of coeducation, merged following their successful European performances. During the 1970s the Glee Club made appearances in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Trinidad and Puerto Rico. While Glee Club tours were primarily in western Europe throughout the 1980s and early 90s, by the mid-1990s their theater of operations encompassed the globe. In 1996 the Glee Club revisited Asia, making their debut in the People’s Republic of China and in South Korea, and returning to Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. In 1998, over 200 of the alumni of the Yale Glee Club toured as a chorus for the first time, singing in Bejing, Xi’an and Shanghai. The 2002 summer tour was a groundbreaking trip to Africa, with performances in Senegal, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa and Mauritius.