Originally known as the Highland Glee Club of Newton Highlands, the group was formed in 1908 by a small group of men living in Newton who loved to sing together. For years, rehearsals and concerts were performed in Newton. Hundreds of men have been members of our chorus in our more than 100 years in existence. We continue to support and encourage men’s chorale singing in the hope of seeing greater interest and growth in this form of music. Since our members hail from many areas, we dropped the Newton from our name and because many of our members are from Needham, we now hold our rehearsals and concerts in Needham.
The club funds a music scholarship and pays for operational costs in the following ways:
• Ticket sales for our annual spring and winter concerts
• Fees for performances • Annual dues paid by members
• Contributions from sponsors, friends and local businesses
• Grants from local charitable organizations and cultural councils
• Donations to the HGC and our Music Scholarship Award Fund
• Advertisements placed in our program books by local generous businesses.
While all of our founding fathers have passed on, they left a heritage that endures today.Our theme song and motto “Ecce Quam Bonum” is as true today as it was then.
Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity
The information below is modified from A History of the Highland Glee Club 1908-2008, compiled by John Gardiner and Merrill Mack. *If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book, please send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll provide details on how you can obtain a copy.
The Highland Glee Club was born at the home of James H. Turnbull on Columbus Street, Newton Highlands, Mass., where 13 charter members organized the Highland Glee Club, elected Turnbull as their first president and formally chose Edgar J. Smith as their first director. Shortly thereafter they adopted a constitution with this Preamble:
"We hereby associate ourselves as a musical organization under the name of Highland Glee Club for the purposes of advancing the musical interests of the community."
On March 2, 1909, 29 members performed their first concert at the Newton Highlands Congregational Church.
The story of the growth of the Highland Glee Club is very closely associated with the New England Federation of Men’s Glee Clubs. The late Herbert J. Burney conceived of the idea of having a federation of all glee clubs in New England and with the nucleus of the Wollaston Glee Club, the Schubert Club of Malden, the Beverly Men’s Singing Club and Highland Glee Club of Newton this movement was launched in 1920. Since that time over 35 clubs have been in the organization and contests and joint concerts have been given in practically every large city in New England with as many as 700 men appearing on the stage.
As times have changed, membership in men’s glee clubs has dwindled. In fact, the only remaining member of the New England Federation of Men’s Glee Clubs is the Highland Glee Club. While membership in the Highland Glee Club has fallen from its peak as well, the club experienced a 30 percent growth in membership in the spring of 2015, and the future looks bright as the club looks to continue that growth in the years ahead.
Click the HGC founders picture to view