The Penn Glee Club is a contemporary show choir with 154 years of tradition in male choral music, making it one of the oldest in its category.
Each year, the Penn Glee Club puts up two official shows, as well as a myriad of other concerts and performances, from the majestic halls of the University of Pennsylvania to the distant shores of Scandinavia.
With nearly 40 performers, a fully-equipped band and an entire deck of technical staff, the Penn Glee Club is able to take on a wide diversity of music - from traditional folk songs to Broadway-style pieces to contemporary pop numbers to sacred choral music and, of course, our dearly beloved alma mater's anthems.
Price Range: $400-2000
Gig Length: 3 - 120 minutes
What to Expect
The Penn Glee Club is best described by our audience members.
"This magnificent musical group...blends its presentations, alternating serious music with interpretations of modern music, unfolding different scenes and dance numbers."
- El Comercio; Lima, Peru
"Despite an ever-changing ensemble, the Penn Glee Club has sustained the highest level of excellence and given the greatest measure of satisfaction to members and audiences alike."
- Former President Ronald Reagan
"This concert was a real Theatre Party with music to delight everyone no matter what his tastes...If this is what glee clubs are doing today then here's one reviewer who hopes that more find their way to our city."
- Kansas City Star
"The young men fascinated the audience with their humor, singing and dancing, giving a fantastic show...a universe full of music and smiles."
- Apogevmatini; Athens, Greece
"The University of Pennsylvania Glee Club dazzled the hundreds of Cuencanos who came to the Teatra Cuenca to attend the presentation of this formidable musical group...An unforgettable fiesta, it is one that the people of Cuenca, lovers of the arts, ought not to miss!"
- El Mercurio; Cuenca, Ecuador
"We expected to have to review this concert with the patronizing tone of an account of a plesasant amateur chorus out to entertain its prejudiced alumni. What we found was a slick, professional performance that holds its own with any show in town."
- Boston Herald
As the University of Pennsylvania Glee Club endures into the 21st century, it remains an institution atop the world of male choral singing. Featuring a unique blend of musical excellence and theatrical showmanship, the Glee Club has won worldwide acclaim. In Director Joshua Glassman's first year of leadership, the Club has undergone a dramatic revival, embracing a wide range of new choral music while staying true to its roots. Its world-renowned and tradition-rich history began modestly in 1862, when eight undergraduate men formed the Club, making the Penn Glee Club the oldest performing arts group at the University of Pennsylvania. Subsequently, another eight men were added to the group. The Club's premier performance was in the chapel of Collegiate Hall at Ninth and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia for "an audience that was unusually select and large, the Hall filled to its utmost capacity." At this concert, each man wore red and blue ribbons in his buttonhole, and thus the Glee Club became the first known Penn group to wear the University colors as part of its uniform.
The Glee Club quickly became an integral part of campus life, singing at football rallies, basketball games, alumni events, and chapel services. With the turn of the century, the Club continued to grow in popularity. Soon, much of the University's musical demands depended upon the Glee Club. As a result, the reliance on such traditional collegiate songs such as "Gaudeamus Igitur" and "Integer Vitae" gave way to original pieces composed especially for the University and the Glee Club, which themselves became traditions: "The Red and Blue," "Afterglow," and "Fight On, Pennsylvania."
In 1934, under Director Harl McDonald, the Penn Glee Club began performing with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The Club's partnership with this world-renowned symphony has produced many memorable performances including the acclaimed 1938 performance of the Brahms' "Alto Rhapsody" with Marian Anderson and the 1970 world premiere broadcast of then-Director Bruce "Monty" Montgomery's "Herodotus Fragments." The 1950s saw the first of many Glee Club appearances on national television with such celebrities as Ed McMahon and Carol Lawrence. The Club has been showcased on television specials, in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and at professional sporting events. The Philadelphia Phillies had the Club sing its acclaimed rendition of the National Anthem at the 1993 National League Championship Series. In 1976, the Penn Glee Club first performed with the Boston Pops. The Club has also shared the stage with such superstars as Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, and Bill Cosby.
The Penn Glee Club stepped out of the formal lines of choral performance in 1928, performing its first fully staged production, Hades, Inc., written by then-director H. Alexander Matthews. Staging became standard fare for the modern Club in 1969's Handel With Hair. Each year the Club writes and produces a fully staged, Broadway-style production, highlighting fine male choral singing, clever plots and dialogue, dancing, irrepressible humor, colorful sets and costumes, and a talented band. This annual performance accentuates the notion that this Club is like no other glee club in the world.
The Penn Glee Club has toured internationally since 1959 and has traveled to nearly all 50 states in the United States and more than 40 nations and territories on five continents. Since its first performance at the White House for President Calvin Coolidge in 1926, the Club has sung for numerous heads of state and world leaders. One of the highlights of 1989 was the Club's performance in Poland for President Lech Walesa. In 1990, the Club arrived in Budapest, Hungary, on the very day of the inauguration of President Arpad Goncz, Hungary's first democratically elected president in 42 years. In 1999, several prominent Japanese executives sponsored a tour to Guam and Japan, the Club's first tour of the Asian Pacific. Five years later in 2004, the Club returned to Asia, this time touring China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. In 2014, the Glee Club returned to the White House, giving a private performance for Barack and Michelle Obama.
The modern Club is a reflection of its rich heritage and its contemporary character. Now in its 154th season, the University of Pennsylvania Glee Club remains, as former Pennsylvania Governor Milton Shapp once remarked, "one of the finest musical organizations in existence." It proudly represents the University in its grand tradition and is equally proud to preserve its distinctive blend of choral excellence and theatrical showmanship, the hallmark of the Penn Glee Club.
Additional Booking Notes
The Penn Glee Club is very versatile in the performances it is able to put on, from short renditions of songs of the University, performances at Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, and other ceremonies, to full staged musicals, complete with lighting, constructed sets, scenery, props, costumes, and an original script.
Every spring, we put on a full, original, Broadway-style musical, complete with an original script, sets, and scenery. We also have spent the past 154 years as musically ambassadors of the University of Pennsylvania, performing fight songs of Penn, traditional college songs, and our own original compositions praising the college experience. More than this, we also have a repertoire of classical, spiritual, and contemporary songs that continually expands as our horizons widen as a performance group.
Selected Repertoire of the Penn Glee Club
In short, the Glee Club has a truly expansive and diverse repertoire, ranging from old traditional songs to contemporary pop music, from American spirituals to German drinking songs, from opera choruses to Broadway showtunes.
Songs of the University and the Penn Glee Club
Afterglow, Bruce Montgomery
Hail Pennsylvania, Alexis Lvov
A Pennsylvania Medley, arr. Bruce Montgomery
The Red and Blue, W. J. Goeckel
Penn Glee Club Toast, Bruce Montgomery
One Day More, from Les Miserables
Time Warp, from Rocky Horror Picture Show
Boy Band Medley (I Want It That Way, Larger than Life, It's Gonna Be Me), arr. Scott Ventre
Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkel
Club Can't Handle Me, arr. C. Erik Nordgren
I Can See Clearly, arr. The Trenchcoats
In My Room, arr. C. Erik Nordgren
Let The River Run, Carly Simon, arr. Bruce Montgomery
Take Me Home, Country Roads, arr. C. Erik Nordgren
The Longest Time, arr. Roger Emerson
Yesterday, the Beatles, arr. Mark Jordan
Ain'-a That Good News, arr. William L. Dawson
Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel, arr. Aaron Dale
Let Us Break Bread Together, arr. Ernest Wells
My Lord, What a Morning, arr. Burleigh
Ride the Chariot, arr. Wm. Henry Smith
Rock-a Ma Soul, arr. William Appling
Wayfaring Stranger, arr. Bruce Montgomery
Classical, Ceremonial and Foreign Songs
America the Beautiful, arr. Bruce Montgomery
The Awakening, Joseph M. Martin
Behold Man, Ron Nelson
Gaudeamus Igitur, Old German Student Song
Hail To Bermuda, arr. C. Erik Nordgren
Land of Hope and Glory, arr. Bruce Montgomery
Let Us Now Praise Great And Famous Men, Bruce Montgomery
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Bruce Montgomery
O Canada!, Calixa Lavallee Sanctus, arr. James Kearney
Set Me As A Seal, from A New Creation, Renee Clausen
Sicut Cervus, Giovanni Pierlugi da Palestrina
The Star-Spangled Banner, arr. Bruce Montgomery
All Through The Night, arr. Bruce Montgomery
Amazing Grace, arr. Bruce Montgomery
A-Roving, arr. Marshall Bartholomew
Away to Rio!, arr. Marshall Bartholomew
Blue Skies, arr. Bruce Montgomery
Brothers, Sing On!, Edvard Grieg
Brown October Ale, Reginald De Koven
Down Among The Dead Men, arr. R. Vaughan Williams
Happy Birthday, arr. Bruce Montgomery
John Peel, arr. Mark Andrews
Men of Harlech, arr. Bruce Montgomery
Say Goodnight, arr. William C. Tost
Scarborough Fair, adapted by Simon and Garfunkel, arr. Bruce Montgomery
Shenandoah, arr. Marshall Bartholomew
Suo Gn, arr. Lawrence Wiliford
Vive L'Amour, arr. Bruce Montgomery
Ward, the Pirate, arr. R. Vaughan Williams
After Dark, arr. SPEBSQSA
Margie, arr. Con Conrad & J. Russell Robinson
My Valentine, arr. A. E. Hall
|Joshua Glassman||Musical Director|
Influences & Inspiration
The Glee Club quickly became an integral part of campus life after it was founded in 1862. We have had the fortune of meeting many influences in our 154 years: Randall Thompson, Aaron Copland, and Marshall Bartholomew. One of our greatest influences was our late director, a "Renaissance man of Philadelphia," Bruce Montgomery. The modern Club is a reflection of its contemporary character and its rich heritage. The Penn Glee Club remains, as former PA Governor Milton Shapp once said, "one of the finest musical organizations in existence." It proudly represents Penn in its grand tradition and is equally proud to preserve its distinctive blend of choral excellence and theatrical showmanship.
Olde Towne Carolers Quakertown(2)
Recent review: Thanks so much for the amazing presentation! The vocals were right on target and the sound was…
We are an Oldies group consisting of three men and one woman. We sing a variety of songs from the 50's, 60's,…
4 Verified Bookings
Recent review: We used The Presters for my mom's funeral services. Communication was excellent throughout, they…