Since 1 Mar 2000
In the beginning, when we were known as "The Associated Glee Clubs of America" a small ten page booklet was published for use as publicity to potential member choruses. It was titled "Why Join the Associated Glee Clubs?" and gave prospective members "Three Good Reasons" for joining along with several testimonials. An edited summary of the reasons follows - how persuasive are they today, seventy years after the publication date?|
"First Reason. Because it is your association - the association of the male chorus men of America - the Guild of their craft - organized and run by glee club men - not for profit, nor for the advantage of glory of any individual, club or group of clubs but for the benefit of all...."
The brochure continues to offer as proof of the above claims, the popularity of the massed concerts given in 1924 (Carnegie Hall,) and 1925 (Metropolitan Opera House):
"Second Reason. Because your help is needed to establish so great and wide-spread an interest in glee clubs and in their work that more and more clubs - eventually a hundred times as many - may spring into existence everywhere, to have a part in the delightful program of music and good fellowship which the Association is undertaking to encourage in town and city groups all over the country..... In order that the young men of the country may find at hand a glee club which may mean as much in their lives as yours has to you..... This increase in glee clubs can be brought about only by a great national movement enlisting the interest of the public and the press. It will function through occasional public joint concerts by the clubs of each city, yearly district meets merging the clubs of several contiguous cities - and later such large activities as state meets ..... and central meets in a key city as a focal point for several states. Friendly contests for honorary prizes will doubtless find a place in many of the meets....."
"Third - and Best - Reason. After all, the question of first importance to any loyal glee club man is, 'Will it benefit my club - and how?' Because your participation in the work of the Association, in its stimulating program of activities will ultimately:
- increase the pleasure and benefit that every member of your club finds in his club relationship,
- increase the number of your members,
- bring into your club better and better musicians and voices - those who seldom join glee clubs,
- put each man on his toes, improve your attendance, your morale and your musical output."
"The proof is in a great measure to be drawn from the experience of the clubs in one important activity - our district singing meets. The effectiveness of the plan is proved by the success of the big mass concerts of the (New York) Metropolitan District..... The experiment has been tried. It has succeeded. What has been done in New York, in Washington and Baltimore, in the Albany district, in Northern New Jersey and elsewhere can be done in all the great cities, in all town and city groups. Here's hoping that it will be, and soon."
Members took on only two obligations in joining the Associated Glee Clubs back then: 1. to pay annual dues (fifty cents per singing member!) and, 2. to rehearse carefully each season the eight compositions constituting the association's common repertoire list.
Admirable objectives ALL - and today we still share our founders' vision and work toward the growth of male chorus singing in the United States and Canada. Unfortunately, we have not been successful in realizing their goals and the trend in recent years shows a downward curve in membership! The next column will review the benefits currently available to our member clubs and attempt to offer some suggestions as to directions in which we can move to reverse our declining membership numbers. If you have ideas to share, I'd like to include them with a comment or two from you. I look forward to receiving your input!
Web manager's note:
This column is planned as a regular feature and will be written monthly by the Executive Secretary.
Links to other columns are available here also.
(03/01/00, 0000, 0000)
(05/02/00, 0059, 0059)
(06/09/00, 0183, 0124)
(07/03/00, 0199, 0016)