The 1886-1887 season of the Virginia Glee Club is attested by articles in the Virginia University Magazine. The November 1886 issue states that the Club had been formed with "eight or ten" members, and names the officers: Sterling Galt, president; T. L. Dabney, vice-president; W. P. Brickell, secretary; and G.T. Smith, treasurer[1]:

The Glee Club has been organized with the following officers; President, Sterling Galt; Vice-President, T. L. Dabney; Secretary, W. P. Brickell; Treasurer, G. T. Smith. The club is supposed to furnish music for the chapel at the evening services, and really does furnish something. It meets in the chapel for practice every Friday evening, at seven o'clock. The membership now numbers eight or ten, and the club desires to increase this number to sixteen, by the admission of gentlemen who have a demonstrated incapacity for singing. The success of the entertainment given by this organization last session leads us to hope that it has come to stay, and to be a prominent feature of student life in the University. An effort is making to secure for this club a room which they will provide with musical instruments, and use for meetings. Its serenades meet with noble feeds wherever given.

They also appeared in a "Mother Goose" benefit held by the Ladies Chapel Aid Society to raise funds for the construction of the University of Virginia Chapel on December 16 and 17, 1886: 

The pleasures of sound were added to the festal occasion by the golden tones of the "University Glee Club," who seemed to have snatched the lyre from Orpheus. That's all right, boys. We cannot sing ourselves, but like to hear you execute our feelings for us. When were singing we felt like Senator Vance did when he saw a rabbit running away from the field of battle; "Go it Molly Cottontail, I'd be right there with you if I did not have a reputation to support."[2]

Their continued existence is attested by an entry in the February 1887 Virginia University Magazine,[3], which states

The Glee Club promised to provide music for Sunday in the chapel; but, up to this time, its performances in that elegant building have been few, and we have been entirely without music during the last six weeks, while the Glee Club has been giving concerts in the North. A choir has been organized, and will hereafter perform regularly. It is composed of six young ladies and ten students—is a sort of a 16mo quire, so to speak, instead of the regulation 48mo. But we presume it can make noise enough.

Thus, the Glee Club was by winter 1886-1887 a going concern that was well known and well received enough to mount tours out of state. This did not prevent the Magazine from twitting the Club, writing in December 1887 that "The Glee Club intends to learn some new songs. Those of the old ones best preserved will be stuffed and presented to the Museum; while those which are petrified will be forwarded to the Archaeological Institute of America,"[4], or even speculating about the group's demise, writing in March 1887:

What has become of the Glee Club? Are we to lose this valuable appendage to the University? It would be too sad. Why, it has been only a tew months since this organization sprang into existence. It seemed to prosper at first, fed by the delicacies which it received at the hands of some would-be admirer, on its nightly tours. Then it emerged from darkness into the glitter of the gas-light, where it won glorious laurels. One fine morning in the month of December, 1886, it appeared before a large and appreciative audience; but, after the performance, said it did not care to risk its reputation on a lot of new hymns, any further. However, it offered to reform, and promised to take charge of the regular choir. But, alas! what was the result? Thus, we see, one step down the ladder of fame. It began to grow wild and reckless. Then the grand chairman cast a bomb, which scattered a few of its limbs. Since this accident it has been unable to collect itself, and we fear we shall have to publish its obsequies in our next.[5]

Finally, in April, the group participated in a joint musical concert with other musicians in the University Chapel, in which it was noted that, "The March, so well sung, showed that our boys did not stand behind the Columbia Glee Club who visited us so recently; they were warmly applauded."[6]

During the 1886–1887 season, the University also had a Minstrel Troupe, of which both Galt and Brickell were also members.[7]

References[edit | edit source]

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1885-1886 Glee Club of the 1880s 1887-1888
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