THE Girls' Glee Club was organized in 1902-3, with Lily Virginia Lyon ('03) as president and Mrs. George Hastreiter as director. Seventeen members were listed in the Michiganensian of that year. Isobel Stellwagen ('05; Mrs. James A. Hurst), was the second president, and her interest and enthusiasm helped to keep the modest organization alive and contributed greatly to its progress. Dean of Women Myra B. Jordan, by arousing interest in the group, aided in establishing the young women singers on the campus.
By the time of Mrs. Hastreiter's resignation in 1905, the club had become an established campus organization, and for that reason Professor Albert A. Stanley, of the School of Music, deemed it advisable to have a member of the music faculty as director of the Glee Club. Nora Crane Hunt accordingly undertook the work and continued it until 1933. The membership averaged slightly more than twenty until 1912-13, when the number increased to forty-one. From that year until the 1920's the size of the club varied but little. An active membership of about seventy was customary during the next decade, but by 1932-33 there had been a slight decrease. In 1940 the club had about sixty members.
There was no large concert hall in the early 1900's, but in those days an appearance in University Hall or even at a tea party in Barbour Gymnasium, then the center of women's activities, was as exciting as an appearance is nowadays in Page 1869Hill Auditorium. The Girls' Glee Club gave frequent concerts in Michigan cities and also sang at Ohio State and Ohio Wesleyan universities.
The first radio program given by the group antedated the establishment of a regular University broadcasting service. A crude studio for the purpose was installed in University Hall. In the early 1930's, by way of contrast with its humble beginnings, the Girls' Glee Club was selected to represent college musical organizations on a program of the National Broadcasting Company. Marjorie McClung ('31, M.Mus. '32), who later studied voice in Vienna and took part in the famous summer music festival at Salzburg in 1938, was the soloist on this program.
Margaret Martindale ('34), who was student director in 1932-33, the last year of Miss Hunt's term of service, became director in 1933-34. So outstanding was her work that Professor Earl V. Moore, of the School of Music, invited the club to appear that year on an afternoon concert of the May Festival. The name "Stanley Chorus" was adopted on this occasion in honor of the late Professor Stanley, who had contributed so long and so effectively to the development of music in Ann Arbor (see Part VI: The University Musical Society and the School of Music). Achilles Taliaferro succeeded Miss Martindale upon her graduation, and he in turn was succeeded, in 1936-37, by University Carillonneur Wilmot F. Pratt. When Pratt went on leave of absence in 1937-38 Thor Johnson, then Instructor in Music Literature, became Director.
The group met in Burton Tower every Thursday night of the school year. Candidates for membership were required to prove their ability in tryouts, which were open to women students of all the schools and colleges on the campus. The year's program consisted of one or two Ann Arbor concerts (usually given in connection with the Little Symphony series), at least one out-of-town appearance, and two or three local radio broadcasts.
The old name "Girls' Glee Club," under which the organization had been known, was resumed in 1937-38. In succeeding years the club was directed by Professor Marguerite Hood, Mrs. Samuel D. Estep, and Professor Maynard Klein.
In 1953, by agreement with the Michigan League, the Dean of Women, and Dean Earl Moore, the club was discontinued. Its activities have been largely absorbed in the Michigan Choir, the Arts Chorale, and the Michigan Singers, the organizations developed in recent years by Professor Klein.