But in digging through Google’s various features, I found the news archives, a front end to the paywalled deep content of a bunch of newspapers that featured some really interesting paydirt on the Club that I called home and that formed me in some significant ways. Among the findings, as gleaned from article summaries since I didn’t feel like spending $30 or $40 in reprints tonight, I learned that the Glee Club
- was getting reviews in the Washington Post in 1923;
- singing in support of the US purchase of Monticello (somewhat confusingly labeled “a Confederate memorial” in 1912,
- performing “coon songs, female impersonations, and mandolin, banjo, and guitar songs,” also in 1912, and
- accused of carrying off a chewing gum slot machine in 1894.
So much, and so little, has changed.
Interestingly, I also found reference in Google Books that the Club seemingly disappeared for a few years prior to 1910-1911, which I hadn’t heard before.
And of course, there was that Washington appearance in which Bill Clinton himself gave us a shoutout, on Thomas Jefferson’s 250th anniversary: “I want to begin by offering my compliments to the United States Marine Band and the Virginia Glee Club, who have entertained us so well today…” Read that speech; it’s almost unimaginable coming from the current sitting president, but back then it was so routine as to be almost unnoticed.
Oh yeah, and the Good Old Song? Turns out it’s a meta-alma mater, a song in memory of the real Song of Wa-Hoo-Wah, long vanished, and at least according to this author a racist imitation of a Native American chant that originated at Dartmouth of all places.
Lessons? There’s more online than lives in Google’s main index…