Glee Club 1939 courtesy Corks and Curls

The 1938-1939 season of the Virginia Glee Club was conducted by Harry Rogers Pratt. Officers included Frantz Hershey, president; Thomas P. Bryan, manager; and Marvin Perry, librarian; Howard Bailey was the accompanist, and Ernest Mead, Charles Rawolle, and J.V. Davis were listed as pianists.[1][2]

The season included a joint performance, on January 17, 1939 in Old Cabell Hall, with the Virginia Symphony of music from Richard Wagner's opera Die Meistersinger. The performance gained notoriety when the Glee Club objected to the text at the conclusion of the opera:

Prof. H.R. Pratt, director of the University of Virginia Glee Club, said today members of the glee club had refused to sing praise to "German masters" even though set to Wagner's immortal music. Prof. Pratt said members of the club demanded a revision of the wording of a line of the finale to the Wagnerian opera, "Die Meistersinger," before they would agree to sing it with the Virginia symphony orchestra in a joint concert at Cabell Hall tomorrow night. The line objected to, translated, reads: "Honor your German masters," and the score requires all 80 voices to sing it in crescendo. The club director said he had rewritten the line to read "honor your master singers."[3]
The Glee Club received a special full page splash in the 1939 Corks and Curls (the only organization other than College Topics and Corks and Curls itself to do so). The text read:
The University of Virginia Glee Club is an organization of long standing; it is even older than Corks and Curls. Over this period of time the club has built up a substantial reputation and made many friends. The University Gleemen, led by Prof. Harry Rogers Pratt, have appeared frequently in Washington and New York in addition to their annual concerts at Richmond, Sweet Briar, and Cabell Hall.



The repertoire of the Glee Club included the following works, listed in an advertising pamphlet for the season[1]:

  • To God on High--Chorale (Decius (d. 1541))
  • Improperia (Palestrina (1526-1594))
  • Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella (Old French Carol, occurring in its original form in the collection of Nicolas Saboly (1614-1675), a Provencal poet-musician)
  • Lo, how a rose e'er blooming (Praetorius (1571-1621)
  • Gute Nacht (German Folk Song)
  • Lullaby (Brahms)
  • Hospodi Pomilui (Lvovsky (Russian Church))
  • Ode to Big Business (Daniel Gregory Mason)
  • Steal Away (Negro Spiritual, arr. H.R.P.)
  • Poor Wayfaring Stranger (Folk Song, arr. H.R.P.)
  • Songs my mother taught me (Dvorak)
  • The Beetle's Wedding (German Folk Song from Breslau)
  • Galway Piper (Irish Folk Song)
  • The Arkansas Traveler (American Folk Song)
  • Landsighting (Edvard Grieg)
  • Finale to "Die Meistersinger" (Richard Wagner)

Roster Edit

This roster is as of the 1939 Corks and Curls and may not include all members of the Glee Club during this season.

Tenors: T.A. Ayers, L.G. Carr, W.F. Cornell, J.V. Davis, F.R. Dunham, B.G. Eberwein, J.P. Hancock, E.F. Hershey, H. Horne, G.R. Lowery, J.B. McClelland, M.R. Marston, G.D. Martin, H.E. Medinets, E.F. Melson, R.E. MohneyF.P. Nichols, D.H. Payne, J.B. Petter, R.P. Pillow, R.B. Posnick, Charles Rawolle, E.B. Roller, P.K. Sheffield, L.A. Slutsky, M.J. Snapp, J.R. Stanton, E.D. Steinbrugge, L.L. Sullivan, A. Thomas, K.W. Whitaker, L.T. Wilds, L.G. Woody

Basses: B.C. Bryan, Thomas P. Bryan, Edward N. Cheek, A.K. Cocke, T.A. Conlon, W.M. Cushman, J.E. Egan, T.S. George, J.E. Harper, M.G. Jackson, B. Jones, J. Kessler, W.T. Lewis, C. Lloyd, E.G. Lorenz, C.H. Madden, P.P. Marvin, W.F. Ogburn, J.E. Palmer, C.D. Paternostro, J.M. Perry, M.B. Perry, R.G. Reed, R. Ross, H.E. Russell, T.M. Thornhill, E. Smith, D.L. Tower, J.B. Tucker, D.M. Turner, R.D. Vermillion, C.M. Wade, W.P. Youngquist



  1. 1.0 1.1 "University of Virginia Glee Club 1938-1939 season flier". University of Virginia Special Collections accession 2972, box 2. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  2. Corks and Curls. 52. 1939. p. 264. 
  3. "Glee Club Balks at Song Lauding German Masters". Washington Post: p. 28. 1939-01-17. 
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1937-1938 Glee Club of the 1930s 1939-1940

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