In 2011, the Morehouse College Glee Club toured the U.S. in celebration of its 100th anniversary. In honor of their centennial, WQXR host and Glee Club alumnus Terrance McKnight, hosted the ensemble for a sold-out performance at the Jerome L.Greene Space. This week's All Ears presents their remarkable Greene Space performance. The works featured on the hour-long showcase span the classical repertoire to African-American spirituals.
Since its inception, the Glee Club has served as performing ambassadors of Morehouse College. They have performed for many important national events including the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter, the US Olympics, the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, and at the White House for President Franklin D. Roosevelt on multiple occasions. The Glee Club has appeared with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and under the direction of noted choral director, Robert Shaw.
In its century of existence, the Glee Club has only had three directors. The ensemble's current director, David Morrow, took over when his teacher Wendall Whalum – who had been there for 34 years – passed away in 1987. Dr. Morrow says that the club's strength has been its continuity.
"The things that I feel now being in the centennial," Dr. Morrow said, "are just a huge amount of happiness that I have some part in getting us to be 100 years old and feeling successful and upholding the standards that were passed to me by my predecessors. I had some wonderful shoulders to stand on and I'm hoping that who ever succeeds me will find my shoulder as strong."
Noted Glee Club alumni include Martin Luther King Jr. and former Secretary of Health Louis Sullivan, among thousands of others.
Heads up: Next week is the final episode of All Ears. Please share your memories of the show in the comments box below.