The Claribel Club was an early incarnation of the Virginia Glee Club. Founded in 1874 and known through several mentions in the Virginia University Magazine (later the Virginia Spectator), the Claribel was a small singing society that, together with the unaffiliated Instrumental Club, serenaded ladies from the larger community.


The origin of the Claribel, together with its founding membership, is reported in the February 1874 Virginia University Magazine:

Quartette.—Dat Leetle German Band has grown tired of its stock of songs, and not having time to learn more, it is virtually disbanded. We are glad to see, however, that some enthusiasm--perhaps a healthier development of the cacoethes cantandi that existed earlier in the session--still manifests itself in the formation of "The Claribel." This organization consists of the gentlemen named below, and includes some of the best voices we have heard in college. Mr. George I. Lyell, first tenor; Mr. R. B. Shephard, second tenor; Mr. Ro. W. Tunstall, first bass; Mr. Budd, second bass.[1]


The April 1875 issue of the Virginia University Magazine reported:

We are glad to see that [the Claribel] still keeps up its old enthusiasm. It was formed last year, and includes this, as well as last session, some of the best voices in college. There is no recreation that the students can engage in more to be encouraged than the formation of these clubs, for 'tis a source of legitimate amusement to themselves as well as a treat to others. We bespeak for their serenades a kind and hearty reception by the ladies of the University and Charlottesville. The Claribel consists of the following gentlemen: Mr George I Lyle, first tenor; Mr. R. B. Shepherd, second tenor; Mr. WB Tunstall, second bass; Mr. Charles Steele, first bass; Mr. W.K. Seago, second tenor.[2]



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