Glee Club history Friday: New directors on the Wiki

I’m going through the backlog of blog posts I have about Club history and translating them into articles on the new Virginia Glee Club Wiki. It’s going to take a while, but slowly but surely things are getting filled in. This week I created new articles on J. A. Morrow and the Virginia Music Festival (referencing past posts here).

I’ve also had some time for new research. Today we spotlight four previously unknown directors of the Virginia Glee Club. None of them, as far as we can tell, served for a long period of time, but all had unique contributions.

Cyril Dadswell (ca. 1906). Dr. Dadswell was one of the individuals who turned up when back issues of the Cavalier Daily (and its predecessor College Topics) showed up on the Google News archives. Dadswell was the director of the Dramatic Club, also known as the “Arcadians,” and his vision for Club seems to have been shaped by dramatic considerations, with a stated intention to focus on light opera. That Club was a second focus after the successful Arcadians might have been one of the reasons that Club diminished in visibility (or disappeared entirely) between this time and M. S. Remsburg‘s renewal of the group in 1910.

Erwin Schneider (ca. 1917-1918). A naturalized German citizen, Dr. Schneider was an associate faculty member who appears in the University of Virginia Bulletin as a piano and violin instructor in the summer school program. There was a good deal of enthusiasm about his directorship in the fall of 1917, but the timing could not have been worse for him as the whole University was about to buckle down to support the war effort the following year. There’s no further information about his connection with the group, and indeed no news about Club at all, until Fickenscher took it over in 1920 with the beginning of the Music Department.

Henry Morgan (1947-1948). Morgan was a UVA music professor who was acting head of the music department and Glee Club director in 1947-1948; my best guess is that he took over while Stephen Tuttle was on sabbatical with his Guggenheim fellowship. Not much is known about Morgan’s directorship, save that he conducted the ninth annual Christmas concert in 1948.

James Dearing (1974-1975). Dearing was like Morgan, a UVA professor who took over directorship of the Glee Club during another’s sabbatical, in this case for Donald Loach while Loach was on sabbatical in Italy. We know a bit more about Dearing, though: he had a good deal of involvement with Virginia choral music, including directing the University Singers and founding the Virginia Women’s Chorus.

I was especially pleased to find the information on Dearing, as it shed light on a period of Club history that we know very little about, and it came from an alumnus who commented on the wiki. It should go without saying, but I’m always grateful for the contributions of other alums to this project. Keep ’em coming!

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