Morehouse Glee Club sings to packed house

The Morehouse College Glee Club begins its concert at the Madison Morgan Cultural Center auditorium.

Madison Mayor Fred Perriman, who is also on the board of the Morgan County African American Museuem, introduces the Morehouse Glee Club and recognizes sponsors who made the event possible.

T. Michael Stone


The Morehouse College Glee Club made a special appearance at the Madison-Morgan County Cultural Center last Saturday night (Feb. 10), and local residents packed the auditorium to enjoy the rare chance to hear the renowned choir sing.

“We were very excited to present the Morehouse College Glee Club in collaboration with the Morgan County African-American Museum [MCAAM],” said Rebecca Bonas, performance director for the center. “We were so pleased with the full house for the show and for the wonderful, diverse and enthusiastic crowd. It was truly a special night that we won’t soon forget. We look forward to partnering with the Morgan County African-American Museum for future events.

According to Bonas, the show was just 20 tickets shy of a complete sellout.

Cheryl Bland, director of the MCAAM, said it took a year and half to set up the concert.

“It was well worth the wait,” Bland said.

When Bland was a little girl, her parents would take the family to see the joint concert between Morehouse College (an all men’s school) and Bennett College (an all women’s school based in Greensboro, N.C.) each year in Atlanta.

“We’d get all dressed up, get in the station wagon and go to Atlanta to see the concert,” she said. “It’s one of my fondest memories.”

Madison Presbyterian Church provided dinner for the Morehouse Glee Club before the show and wowed those in attendance by singing grace.

The members of the choir didn’t come to the stage at MMCC in the conventional way from back stage but entered from the lobby, quickly assembling on stage.

The Glee Club sang a variety of music from Handel to spirituals, even singing some songs in foreign languages.

Bland said she hoped the choir would be able to come back at some point in the future.

The Morehouse College Glee Club has traveled all over the world since its founding in 1911 by Kemper Harreld.

Harreld served as director of the Glee Club until his retirement in 1953.

According to a CNN story, the choir and quartet performed at least three times for President Franklin Roosevelt.

Dr. Wendell Phillips Whalum took over and served as director until his death in 1987. Under his watch, the club performed at Dr. Martin Luther King’s funeral and toured in five African countries. They also sang during the inauguration of Jimmy Carter, according to the CNN story.

They have also contributed music to a couple of Spike Lee films and the Cosby Show.

Dr. David Morrow assumed the role of director in 1987 and still serves in that capacity.

Under his guiding hand, the Glee Club participated in closing ceremonies for the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta and at Super Bowl XXVIII along with Natalie Cole.

Supporters of the concert included Main Stage Sponsor Chuck Dorr and Gold Sponsors Georgia, Power, Brad and Dena Good, Godfrey’s Warehouse and the Morgan County Minister’s Union.

Other sponsors included the Bank of Madison, the Committee to Elect Mayor Fred Perriman, the Dubose Law Group, Madison Car Care, Anne and Robert Trulock, Karen and Peter Wibell, United Bank, Peters and Son Home Transport, Chris Hodges, Reams Enterprises and Unity Morgan.

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