College of Social Studies - Student Life - Student Groups and Organizations - Singing Groups

Singing Groups

Wesleyan was long known as the "Singing College of New England." The University's "tradition as a 'singing college' had its roots in the vitality of Methodist hymnody." Glee clubs were formed "for special occasions from the mid-1840s through the 1860s". In 1862, however, a University glee club made the first tour of Wesleyan singers. The Wesleyan glee club organized by students frequently traveled and performed from the mid-19th century through the mid-20th century and was considered among the best collegiate glee clubs in the late 19th century. It traveled widely giving concerts, including being received twice at the White House (in 1901 by President McKinley and again in 1928 by President Coolidge) and being recorded onto a phonograph record by Thomas Edison. University alumni published the first edition of The Wesleyan Song Book in 1901. Subsequently, the Glee Club twice won the National Intercollegiate Glee Club Competition at Carnegie Hall. Since the Glee Club's disbanding, the tradition of choral singing has been carried on by the Wesleyan Singers, later renamed the Wesleyan Concert Choir, and then renamed again The Wesleyan Ensemble Singers (2010). This tradition also continues today in several student-run a cappella groups on campus.

The multi-award winning musical In the Heights, was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (class of 2002) during his Sophomore year and was first produced at Wesleyan.

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