The Morehouse College Glee Club is the official singing organization of Morehouse College, on call to serve the college’s president throughout the year. Its members have earned such honors as the Merrill Travel Study Award for overseas experience, a listing in Who’s Who among American Colleges and Universities, and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. All receive no academic credit, but sing as a labor of love. Their majors include all offered by the college, and they come from homes encompassing the U.S., Africa, and the Caribbean. Along with local concerts, the Glee Club makes an annual spring tour of ten to fifteen cities.
In the early years of the 20th century, Georgia Starr, a music professor at what was then Atlanta Baptist College, directed a choral ensemble of ten to twelve students and an orchestra of five to six students. Kemper Harreld assumed directorship of these ensembles in 1911, officially founding the Glee Club. He is credited with initiating the Glee Club’s strong tradition of excellence and passing it on to its members. Wendell Whalum took the helm as the Glee Club’s director in 1953. Under his direction the Glee Club performed for the funeral services of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and in the Second International Choral Festival at New York’s Lincoln Center, made a month-long tour of five African countries, performed for the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter, and sang in the East Room of the White House with Coretta Scott King. They also recorded “I’m Buildin’ Me a Home,” arranged by former Glee Club member Uzee Brown, Jr., for the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s movie School Daze.
David Morrow, a prized student of Whalum’s and valedictorian of his Morehouse graduating class, became the ensemble’s director in 1987. Under Dr. Morrow the Glee Club performed the national anthem with Natalie Cole for Super Bowl XXVIII. They participated with the ASO, Jessye Norman, Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, and Trisha Yearwood in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, and toured Poland and cities along the Volga River in Russia. They have sung in each of the ASO’s “King Celebration” concerts observing the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., including the initial concert in 1993 with soprano Jessye Norman, and they have sung with the ASO at Christmas time almost every year for three decades.