About the OU Mens' Glee Club
Founded in 1903 by Gustaf Fredrik Holmberg, the first dean of the College of Fine Arts, the Men’s Glee Club gained national recognition under the direction of Dr. Lara Hoggard (1915-2007) when the group performed at Carnegie Hall in Fred Waring’s “Pleasure Time” National Glee Club Competition on May 30,1942. The Sooner Glee Club finished in the top three of the competition, but because the OU singers were so outstanding in choral artistry and musicianship, the judges, including John Finley Williamson, Deems Taylor, and Peter J. Wilhousky, awarded the choir with a silver trophy for “the finest example of choral art.” Robert Shaw, then conductor of the Waring Glee Club, was equally impressed with the quality of singing by the OU men, describing their music as the best he had ever heard from a nonprofessional group of singers. Fred Waring invited the OU Glee Club to remain in New York two additional days and presented them twice on his NBC radio show to 15 million listeners, announcing that, “The University of Oklahoma Men’s Glee Club won the unanimous vote of the j udges for tone quality, intonation, blend and balance, and the highest expression of choral art.”
Your music is simply beautiful. You men should know that in the preliminaries we listened to 140 recordings, over a period of three months, to determine which eighth should be invited to come to New York for the finals. All recordings were identified by a number, and that number was written on the outside of a sealed envelope containing the identity of the group. After the six judges had agreed upon the top eight recordings, only then did we take this information to Mr. Waring. The eight had been carefully given points on a scale. Mr. Waring asked for the identity of the group receiving the highest number of points. At that moment we opened the eight envelopes in consecutive order. And I think you men should know that the first envelope we opened revealed the top group to be the University of Oklahoma!
—Robert Shaw to the OU Men’s Glee Club.
Today, the OU Men’s Glee Club continues a hundred-plus year legacy of promoting school spirit a nd cultivating a heritage of choral excellence.
We’ll march down the field with our heads held high, Determined to win any battle we’re in. We’ll fight with all our might for the Red and White. March on down the field for a victory is nigh You know we came to win the game for Oklahoma And so we will or know the reason why.
— O.K. Oklahoma! by Fred Waring