“Lift the chorus...”

From the earliest years, songs and music have been an important part of Cornell. At the opening of the University in 1868, Jennie McGraw presented a chime of nine bells. That year, students founded the Orpheus Glee Club, a short-lived ensemble considered the predecessor of today’s Glee Club, which was formalized in 1880 as the first lasting musical organization at Cornell. The lyrics of early college songs were frequently written by students or faculty, with music from popular ballads, minstrel songs, or hymns. The first college songbook, published in 1868, was a compilation of songs from twenty-one schools. The second edition, published in 1876, included twenty Cornell songs. The Alma Mater was written about 1872 by Archibald C. Weeks ʼ72 and Wilmot M. Smith ’74. The “Evening Song,” by Henry Tyrrell ʼ80, was first sung by the Glee Club in 1876; the text appeared in the Era, on April 6, 1877. Five major collections of Songs of Cornell have been published, the most recent edited by Professor of Music Thomas A. Sokol and sponsored by the Class of 1957 Glee Club Memorial Fund in 1988.

Listen to the Cornell Alma Mater:

Listen to “Evening Song”:

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