Ten years ago if anyone had asserted that the Harvard Glee Club should one day give a joint concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in New York, he would have met only with laughter. Glee clubs were groups of college men who could sing songs after a fashion, and who liked to dance after every performance. Nothing further was expected of them.
This was the general point of view when Dr. Davison took charge in the days before the war; but under his leadership the Glee Club established a remarkable reputation--that of a "maker of precedents". In 1919 it separated from the Instrumental Clubs, and began giving concerts of choral music, selected from old composers. Soon after, it gave its first joint concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and earned enthusiastic applause, and later sang in cooperation with artists such as Fritz Kreisler. In the summer of 1921 it visited France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany, and took Europe by storm.
But its path has not been an easy one, for that of a precedent-maker never is. It has fought against the traditional conservatism of the college undergraduate and alumnus, until it has finally dethroned Polly-Wolly-Doodle and set up Mendelssohn instead. And voices which at first objected that the new Glee Club was not a Glee Club but only a Choral Society are heard no more--evidence enough that the Club's policy has won popular as well as critical favor. Public opinion has been "educated."
Although the proposed trip to New York is not a startling thing to hear of, now, it is one of the crowning events of more than ten years of steady improvement; and it marks full public recognition of the success of Dr. Davison's efforts.