Secular singing in one form or another has been popular recreation for cadets at West Point since the Academy's founding in 1802. Many warm, boisterous songfests were held at Benny Havens' Tavern, a popular (though off-limits) gathering spot of cadets in the early 1800's. First organized in 1903, an official Cadet Glee Club gave its premier concert at the United States Military Academy in March of that year. The Cadet Glee Club became a permanent extracurricular cadet activity at the Military Academy in 1933 with twenty-five singers. Now an eighty-voice mixed chorus, the members serve as musical ambassadors for West Point and rank among the most prestigious college choirs in the United States.
In recent years the Cadet Glee Club has performed in Carnegie, Ozawa, and Avery Fisher Halls and at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It has completed concert tours of the East and West Coasts, performed at Ground Zero by invitation of the White House on the first anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy, appeared with the Boston Pops, the U.S. Army Band, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and the US Military Academy Band, given scores of concerts annually throughout the United States and produced three new recordings: the DVD/CD Stand Ye Steady (2005) with guest artists Lea Salonga and Daniel Rodriguez; the CD Voice of the Corps (2003), the choir's first full-length release since 1966; and the original hymn Mansions of the Lord for the closing credits of the Paramount feature film We Were Soldiers (2002). Each of the recording projects took place in the renowned Cadet Chapel at West Point. The Glee Club is also in frequent demand for nationally televised appearances by invitation of Lifetime Network, Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, the Fiesta Bowl, and Super Bowl XXXIX.
Among the Glee Club's many historic performances are appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, at Disneyland, at the opening of Epcot Center at Disney World, and the Kennedy Space Center. The Glee Club has shared the spotlight with such notable entertainers and artists as Bob Hope and Roberta Peters. Special memories include performances for the homecoming of the hostages from Iran and a visit to the U.S. by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The Glee Club has performed for many national and international dignitaries including former and current U.S. Presidents.
The mission of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point is to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country; professional growth throughout a career as an officer in the United States Army; and a lifetime of selfless service to the nation. Upon graduation from the Academy, cadets are commissioned as Second Lieutenants and begin their service to the nation as officers in the United States Army.
Despite its rapid pace and demanding concert schedule, the best description of the Cadet Glee Club is easily obtained from its motto:
"No fun without music, no music without fun!"
Click here for the offical Glee Club fact sheet.
The Glee Club welcomes some 25-30 new members each year. Membership is by invitation following audition with the Glee Club director and interview with the club's cadet leadership. The Glee Club seeks musicians with fine voices, strong reading skills, and excellent tonal memory. Auditions occur in the fall. Dates and times are announced throughout the Corps during Re-Organization Week.
The Glee Club presents up to fifty performances annually throughout the United States and abroad. It currently books performances two to four years in advance. For further information please contact: