Friday, December 4, 2015

Treasures from the Archive: A Bit of Choir History

As we enter into the month of December, I would like to talk about the roots of the choir program at Concordia. So, like all great stories from history, let us start at the beginning...

The choral roots lie in the Lutheran tradition of the “singing church,” and as such, the Missouri Synod always sought to have music as part of the curriculum at its colleges. When Concordia first opened, 2 hours per week of singing were required for all students, in addition to studying musical theory and instrumental practice.
1926-27 Glee Club

This requirement lasted through the winter of 1926. The following spring, the Concordia Glee Club was established as a voluntary student club. As this club became more successful and popular, it also became more selective. The club was restricted to thirty-two members and the group decided to move away from including secular music and performed only sacred music. The club began traveling for the first time in 1934, and completed extensive concert tours every year following. In 1936, the name of the club was officially changed to the Concordia Choral Club. In 1939-40, it was decided that membership in the Choral Club would be restricted to college students and a new Glee Club was formed for high school students.
1948-49 Concordia Choral Club

Up until 1953, the Choral Club was an all-male chorus. When the college became coeducational in 1950, a mixed group of thirty men and women formed the Chapel Choir (as the Choral Club was closed to women.) In the fall of 1953, women became eligible to join the Choral Club. The 1953-54 Choral Club had an initial membership of thirty-two women and twenty-eight men.
1950-51 Chapel Choir

Both the Chapel Choir and Choral Club continued to be anchors of the Concordia music program. The Choral Club adopted a new name in 1965, the Concordia College Chorale, and today we know them as the Christus Chorus. Shortly after it was established, the Chapel Choir started going by the name Schola Cantorum; today, our chapel choir is known as the Jubilate Choir.

If you have the opportunity, make sure to attend the annual Christmas concert this weekend, December 4-6, and, also, keep your ears open for carolers in the halls as an end-of-the-semester treat!

- Michael


Michael Hernick recently graduated from Concordia University, Saint Paul with a major in History. He spent his summer buried in the Archive digging up interesting nuggets of Concordia's history. We will be highlighting his work with Throwback Thursday post, Treasures from the Archive, throughout the year!

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