Founded in 1859, The University of Michigan Men's Glee Club is one of the oldest collegiate chorus in the United States and the oldest continually-run student organization on the Michigan campus. Long acclaimed as one of the finest male choruses in the world, the Glee Club has achieved this stature by sustaining and respecting the traditions which have been established during its 152 year history. The graduate and undergraduate members of the Glee Club, chosen by audition at the beginning of both the Fall and Winter terms, represent a wide spectrum of majors in a majority of the University's 19 schools and colleges and its student officers are responsible for the management of all non-musical Glee Club operations. The Glee Club has become renowned for its wide repertoire of music that incorporates selections from different musical styles and periods including Renaissance motets, Romantic anthems, opera choruses, folksongs, spirituals, contemporary works, and, of course, Michigan songs. The Friars, an eight-member subset of the Glee Club, are in their 56th year and serve as an extension of Club as they maintain an ambitious performing schedule.
The scope of the Men's Glee Club reaches far beyond rehearsals and performances; the Club is vibrant social organization. Rehearsals are supplemented by weekly post-rehearsal gatherings, tailgate "record" sings, intramural sports teams, and a myriad of other events that allow for fraternization. Collaborations with other choirs, the Club's annual Male Vocal Arts Day (a workshop for high school men), and touring also play a vital roles in establishing a brotherhood. The Club performs regularly within the state of Michigan, and each year tours a region of the United States or goes abroad. In February of 2001 the Glee Club traveled to Northampton, MA for a performance of Brahms' Ein deutsches Requiem with the Smith College Glee Club and Chorale and hosted a second performance the following October. Other recent highlights include collaborations with the Michigan State, Ohio State, and Notre Dame Glee Clubs.
The Glee Club was honored in 1959 to be the first American male chorus to win first place at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales, (and has since won three more first prizes at the same competition), and in 1967, circled the globe in celebration of the University's sesquicentennial year. Recent international tours have included Southeast Asia (1989), Eastern and Central Europe (1992), South America (1996), and Australia (2000), and the British Isles (2004). The Club has also made appearances at Avery Fisher and Alice Tully Halls at the Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the pre-game festivities for the 1984 World Series, and the Intercollegiate Men's Choruses National Seminar in 1986 and perform at the 2004 IMC National Seminar at Harvard University. The Club has also had the esteemed privilege of performing at the American Choral Directors Association Central Division Conventions in 1992 and 2000 and the ACDA National Convention in San Diego in 1997. In addition to the numerous recordings to its name, the Club was recently honored to be featured on Manheim Steamroller's double platinum CD Christmas Extraordinaire.