Virginia Glee Club Wiki
Virginia Glee Club Wiki

Harry Rogers Pratt (January 17, 1884 – May 7, 1956)[1] was a professor of music and drama at the University of Virginia from 1923 to 1954. Though he had no academic degree, he is credited with several accomplishments, including drawing the composer Randall Thompson to the University, founding the Virginia Players,[2] and inaugurating the Glee Club Concert on the Lawn and Christmas concert traditions.

Pratt was born in Boston and studied music at Harvard University before joining the University of Virginia faculty at the appointment of University president Edwin A. Alderman. He taught music and drama at Virginia and is credited with bringing Randall Thompson and Stephen Tuttle to join the music faculty as an associate professor.[3] From 1923 to 1940, Pratt lived with his wife Agnes Rothery Pratt in The Mews, an outbuilding of Pavilion III, which they substantially remodeled.[4]

Pratt, who directed the Virginia Glee Club from 1933[5] through 1942, was remembered as a director who had less polish than those who succeeded him, but who possessed great enthusiasm and who was responsible for bringing the Glee Club to national prominence.[4] His work with the Virginia Players included a world premiere performance of Edgar Allan Poe's only play, Politian.[6][3] He was also a faculty member of the Jabberwock Society.[7]

As Glee Club director, Pratt was notable for leading the first Concert on the Lawn; led the group in its first national radio broadcasts; took the group to New York City for the first time; and brought enrollment from 16 to nearly 70 singers. In January 1943, he took a leave of absence from directing to teach navigation to Naval Pre-Flight Preparatory candidates, turning over the group to Randall Thompson and Stephen Tuttle.[8] He formally resigned the directorship of the group in 1943 to focus on the Virginia Players, on and the war effort.[9] He was remembered in a College Topics editorial as having grown the Glee Club from "16 singers, some of whom would and some would not show up at concert time" to "a full sized organization" that had "traditions of its own and [had] become traditional at the University."[10]

Pratt died in 1956 at Recoleta, the Charlottesville home that he had built with his wife, the writer Agnes Rothery. He is buried in the University of Virginia Cemetery.[11]




  1. "Harry Rogers Pratt". Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2004 ( Retrieved 2017-02-11. 
  2. Vaughn, Joseph L. (1991). Rotunda Tales: Stories from the University of Virginia, 1920-1960. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Alumni Association. pp. pp. 144-146. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Harry R. Pratt, 72, Educator, Ex-Actor". New York Times. 1956-05-07. pp. 27. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Stokes, Virginia; Lloyd Thomas Smith Jr, James R Boyd, Margaret O'Brien, Marc Wagner. "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Recoleta" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-02-12. 
  5. The University of Virginia Record. XX. Charlottesville: University of Virginia. 1934. 
  6. "Regional Theatre in Virginia: University of Virginia Drama". Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  7. "Butterworth Honored by Jabberwock". College Topics. 1943-05-24. p. 1. 
  8. "Randall Thompson to Direct Glee Club for Rest of Season". College Topics: p. 4. 1943-01-18. 
  9. "University Glee Club Director Pratt Resigns After Leading Singers for Nearly 15 Years". College Topics: p. 1. 1943-07-15. 
  10. "Director Retires". College Topics: p. 2. 1943-07-29. 
  11. "Harry Rogers Pratt". Find-A-Grave. Retrieved 2017-02-11. 

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