Purdue Varsity Glee Club

Purdue Varsity Glee Club

The Purdue Varsity Glee Club is the principal vocal group of Purdue University.


The glee club was founded in 1893, with eleven members under the direction of Lafayette organist Cyrus Dadswell. Purdue University, at the time, was an agricultural and engineering school without a strong musical tradition.Bennett, Joseph L. Boilermaker Music Makers (Al Stewart and the Purdue Musical Organizations). West Lafayette: Purdue Research Foundation, 1986. (pg 57, 47-49)] In 1910, under the direction of E.J. Wotawa, the Glee Club composed the fight song “Hail Purdue”. During the 1920s and 1930s, directors Paul Smith and Albert Stewart led and expanded the organization.“Purdue Varsity Glee Club: History”. Purdue Musical organizations. 1 Feb. 2007 ] Stewart was refused funding from the university by then-president. Some of the early funding for the Glee Club came from Indianapolis pharmaceutical magnate Josiah K. Lilly Sr. At this time, though, the organization was considered campus orphans, lacking a regular rehearsal space. Lillian Stewart, wife of then comptroller R.B. Stewart, offered her living room as rehearsal space. But as the Glee Club gathered more admirers, Elliot yielded and at last formalized Stewart's position. Elliot also hired a staff and provided rehearsal space. The first official space for the Glee Club and for the Purdue Musical Organization was in the “Music Penthouse”, what is now known as University Hall.


Among the traditions of the club is the standard that all members keep their hair short and their faces clean-shaven. Now even though this tradition is an important one to the group this isn't what defines the group. Excellence in character is also highly encouraged.King, Brian. Personal Interview. Sir of Traditions. 1 Feb. 2007] That is the Glee Club's greatest tradition, and it is the goal of every Glee Club member to further this tradition of excellence. The In addition to these general commitments, there are the following structural divisions:

The Purdusirs and Purdusires

The Purdusirs is a leadership group comprising outstanding juniors and seniors. Each of the twelve "sirs" chairs a committee. The 10 committees are Advancement, Public Relations, Social, Properties, Rehearsal Room - Lounge & Transportation, Scholarship, Social, Traditions, Merchandise, and World Wide Web. The other two sirs are the chairman of the Sirs and the manager, who have oversight over the entire club. As well as heading the committees, they are responsible for various procedural matters. The Sirs wear gold and black ribbons on their full dress uniform. The Purdusires is a parallel organization comprising outstanding administration, faculty and staff members. This organization also has twelve members, individually assigned to each committee and acting as advisors and counselors to their respective Sirs and other Glee Club members. A Sire serves as someone with whom a Sir or other Glee Club member interacts through many varied activities, both formal and informal.

The Tradition of Mingling

Men of the Glee Club spend a short time mingling with audience members after all full concerts and whenever appropriate. Mingling allows the singers to show their appreciation. Many members of Glee Club audiences are Purdue, Purdue Musical Organization or Glee Club alumni who are interested in hearing about new developments on campus. Mingling is an important part of each Glee Club performance. Each individual is responsible for nurturing the rapport between the Glee Club and its audience.


White carnation boutonnières are traditionally worn by the Glee Club at every full-dress concert. They are worn on the left lapel of the full-dress uniform, centered and approximately two inches from the top of the lapel. After each concert each singer pin his carnation on the woman of his choice.

The Medallion

The Varsity Glee Club's medallions worn by the Glee Club were originally furnished by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in thanks for charity work done for MS. In 1990, the NMSS discontinued the production of these medallions, and they ceased to become a part of the full-dress uniform. In the fall of 1991, the Glee Club acquired new medallions with the Purdue seal on the front and Glee Club Pete on the back in commemoration of the group's upcoming centennial (1893-1993). The Purdue seal has two prominent features: the griffin, which symbolized strength in medieval heraldry, and the three-part shield, which represents the three stated aims of Purdue -- education, research and service.

World Travels

The Varsity Glee Club is renowned all over the world. Having traveled throughout the continental US, the group has also traveled abroad. The Varsity Glee Club has traveled to China, the British Isles and the South Pacific. Most recently, the group traveled to South Africa the summer of 2008. The Purdue Varsity Glee Club toured Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Johannesburg. As ambassadors, the Glee Club spreads the message of Purdue and the Purdue Musical Organization all over the world.

Directors of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club

Cyrus Dadswell - 1893 - organist, first director of The Purdue Varsity Glee Club (11 members, roughly put together)
Since the Men's Glee Club was a shaky organization, it went through five directors in the first five years of existence.
E.J. Wotawa - 1910 - student, took over directing
Paul Smith - 1920 - 1927
Helen Smith
Al Stewart - 1932-1974 - First full time director, founded Purdue Musical organizations, acquired costumes, staff, and rehearsal space.
Bill Luhman - 1974-1982 - Purdue Bells started under his direction
William Allen - 1982-1989
Brian Breed - 1989-2007 - did many tours and spread the Purdue Varsity Glee Club's reputation worldwide
Gerritt J. Vandermeer - Jan 2008 - May 2008 (Interim) This Glee Club alumnus led the group in its first international trip to South Africa.
William E. Griffel - June 2008 - present

External links

* [http://www.pmojo.com/pvgc/ www.pmojo.com/pvgc/]


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