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Spelman College Glee Club

The Spelman College Glee Club History

Glee Club LogoThe Spelman College Glee Club has maintained a reputation for choral excellence since 1924. Open by audition to all students of the College community, the Glee Club performs a repertoire that includes selections from world cultures, commissioned works, sacred and secular choral literature Negro spirituals, and music by African American composers, with a particular focus on harmonies that complement women’s voices.

Currently under the direction of Dr. Kevin Johnson, associate professor of  music, the Glee Club has traveled throughout the United States and performed for a variety of audiences in churches, high schools, colleges and universities. Past performance venues include the Faneuil Hall in Boston, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, and the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Internationally, the Glee Club has traveled to Canada, Brazil, Italy, and most recently Portugal for the 2019 Terras sem Sombra Festival. Performance highlights include a 2016 concert at the White House for President Barack Obama and a March 2017 performance at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Spelman Glee Club at the White House
Spelman College Glee Club with President Barack Obama in the White House (2016)

Active in the local and national music community, the Glee Club has shared the stage with the Dance Theater of Harlem, Aretha Franklin, Kathleen Battle and Stevie Wonder. Locally, they have performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and most recently provided the choral soundtrack for the Atlanta Ballet’s world premiere of Dwight Rhoden's “Sunrise Divine,” which featured arrangements and original music by Dr. Johnson. In September 2019, the Glee Club was honored to sing at the funeral of famed opera singer Jessye Norman.

As the premiere performance organization for the College, the Glee Club sings for most campus events. In 2019, they celebrated the 93rd anniversary of the annual Spelman-Morehouse Christmas Carol Concert. Held with the Morehouse College Glee Club, this concert is featured on National Public Radio and Georgia Public Broadcasting during the holiday season. Other major performances include the annual Spring Concert and the annual Spring Tour, which takes place during the College’s observation of spring break.

Christmas Carol Concert 2018
The 92nd Annual Spelman-Morehouse Christmas Carol Concert (2018)

Past directors include Hilda Brendenburg, Marrion Guthrie, Stella J. Haugan, Kemper Harreld, Willis Laurence James, Dr. Roland Allison, Aldrich Adkins, Ruth B. Stokes and Dr. Norma Rabon. Over the years, the Glee Club has grown to a membership of 80 phenomenal students.


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