Information on this page is modified from A History of the Highland Glee Club 1908-2008, compiled by John Gardiner and Merrill Mack.
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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. And while membership in the Highland Glee Club has fallen from its peak as well, the club experienced 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.