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Musical Movements and Moments

Musical Movements and Moments


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A recent transfer of recordings from the Music Library to the Archives prompted a little reflection on Davidson student’s enthusiasm for making music. Student letters describe impromptu concerts and  student choirs in the 1860s.  A Jug Band formed and played on campus –and when allowed– off campus in 1888-89.

More long lasting was the Glee Club, which served as the home to orchestras and subgroups including Guitar and Mandolin Club and the Double Quartette.

Glee Club in 1897 - incorporating the Guitar and Mandolin club

Glee Club in 1897 – incorporating the Guitar and Mandolin club

 

1904 Orchestra

Although starting small, the orchestra would grow over the years.

  Members of the Double Quartette in 1907Members of the Double Quartette in 1907

Several groups have shared names over the decades. In 1908, the guitars and mandolins took on the name the Serenaders.  By 1926,  the Wildcat Serenaders were on the scene — only to be reorganized as the Sunnyland Serenaders in 1928.

Formerly Guitar and Mandolins, now Serenaders

Formerly Guitar and Mandolins, now Serenaders

Article from 9 February 1928 Davidsonian announcing the change from Wildcat to Sunnyland with the headline, "Wildcat Serenaders Lately Reorganized"

Article from 9 February 1928 Davidsonian announcing the change from Wildcat to Sunnyland

The name change brought on a spirit of adventure on the part of the musicians. Not content to play just on campus and in nearby towns, they hoped for a contract with a steamship line to play while crossing the Atlantic.

The Sunnyland Serenaders, Guitars and Mandolins gave way to banjos, drums and sax

Guitars and Mandolins gave way to banjos, drums and sax

The Lamplighters started in 1954 as a quartet with Sandy McGeachy, Leighton McCutchen, Joe Garrison, Bob Martin. By 1964, the Lamplighters were a double quartet (without the extra e’s and t’s of the  1907 group) within the Male Chorus

Lamplighters (Double Quartet) in 1965 featruing: Cooper, Goodman, Willams, Jones, D., Causey, Martin, Clark, Davis, Jones, B. left to right

Lamplighters (Double Quartet) in1965

When coeducation officially arrived at Davidson, women students were quick to follow the musical tradition.  In 1973, they joined the Madrigal Singers and a Women’s Chorus was founded in in 1975 with a student leader, Pat Morris.

campus madrigal group 1976

With women’s voices on hand, a campus madrigal group could be formed.

It should be noted that Davidson musicians  did not wait for coeducation. In 1940, the Davidson-Queens Little Orchestra was formed combining talents from Davidson and Queens College.   These are but a few of the musical moments at Davidson.  In 2014 along with the college sponsored choirs, orchestras and ensembles, there are a capella  groups, rock bands, and soloists sharing their talents. This summer student musicians and mathematicians will spend time together in the new Davidson College Venture Lab coming up with ways to create and distribute online music.  Let Davidson’s musical adventures continue.

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