Saturday, January 8, 2011

Morehouse College Glee Club Celebrates its Centennial ~ 1911 – 2011

[1911 Glee Club; MCGC Centennial Circle]

Karan Morrow has written an article on the Centennial of the Morehouse College Glee Club:

The Morehouse College Glee Club (, steeped in a rich musical heritage, will be celebrating its Centennial Anniversary from February 16 - 20, 2011 at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. The College and Glee Club alumni from all over the world are very excited about this historic and once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

The Morehouse College Glee Club embraces a now one-hundred year tradition of musical excellence and achievement. The Glee Club has continued in this tradition through the dedication and commitment of its members and the leadership that its directors have provided since 1911. It is the mission of the Morehouse College Glee Club to keep its standard of excellence.

The origins of the Morehouse College Glee Club precede its official founding date of 1911. Morehouse College, which was then Atlanta Baptist College, had a music professor named Miss Georgia M. Starr. She served the College from 1903-1905 and again from 1908-1911. In Miss Starr's absence, Miss Lucy Z. Reynolds served for two years and Mrs. Grace D. Walsemann served for one year. Miss Starr directed the choral ensemble, which consisted of ten to twelve students, and the orchestra that consisted of five to six students. Edmund Jenkins, a brilliant music student, also led both groups.

Kemper Harreld assumed directorship of these two groups, officially founding the Glee Club when he joined the College's music faculty in 1911. He was an accomplished violinist who graduated from the Chicago Music College. Mr. Harreld originally planned to stay at Morehouse College (then Atlanta Baptist College) for one year, but ended up serving the College as Director of the Morehouse College Glee Club and Chairman of the Music Department for 42 years. He retired in 1953 and was responsible for initiating the Glee Club's strong tradition of excellence and passing it on to its members.

Wendell Phillips Whalum, Sr., '52, took the helm as the Glee Club's second director upon the retirement of Kemper Harreld. Dr. Whalum assumed directorship shortly after earning his Masters degree from Columbia University. For a period of two years, 1961-1963, Albert T. Perkins, '59, served as interim Director of the Glee Club while Dr. Whalum completed some of his doctoral requirements. Dr. Whalum went on to complete his doctorate at the University of Iowa in 1965. Dr. Whalum, more commonly known as "Doc", served Morehouse College and the Glee Club with the continued tradition of excellence until his untimely passing on June 9, 1987. Under the direction of Dr. Whalum, the Glee Club performed for the funeral services of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., '48, and for the Second International Choral Festival at Lincoln Center in New York. In March 1972, the Glee Club made a month-long tour of five African countries. The Glee Club sang for the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter in 1977 and in the East Room of the White House with Coretta Scott King in 1978.

In the Fall semester of 1987, David E. Morrow, '80, assumed directorship of the Glee Club. He earned his Master's degree at the University of Michigan in 1981 and then returned to his alma mater as a part of the music faculty and as Assistant Director of the Glee Club. During the 1992-1993 school year, Harding Epps, '74, served as interim Director while Dr. Morrow finished the coursework for the doctoral degree. In 1995, Dr. Morrow received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.

All Morehouse College Glee Club alumni
should get information and register
for the Centennial Celebration
by going to
to download the Registration Form,
Souvenir Ad Form and Donation Form.

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