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Dartmouth College. Handel Society



The Handel Society, the oldest singing organization in the United States, was founded in 1807 by four students in the Class of 1808 and one in the class of 1809. Professor John Hubbard, author of “Essay on Music,” was selected as president, and a constitution was drafted shortly thereafter. Believing that popular music tastes had declined, the Society’s goals outlined in the 1811 constitution sought to bring to light, “true and genuine music, which is calculated to enkindle devotion in the heart.”As the Handel Society grew in popularity, the Music Society that had preceded it disbanded. The Handel Society performed at masses and in the church on occasion, also giving concerts outside of the church.

The 4th of July concert was a regular feature of the group’s performances. The middle of the 19th century was a prosperous period for the group, which received many invitations for festivals and peformances around New England. Later that century, the group became less active, singing only during chapel and During the 1970s, the Society was inactive for a time due to lack of interest and a director, but Melinda O’Neal revived the group in her capacity as assistant professor and conductor and supervisor of all choral music at the Hopkins Center, beginning in 1979. On December 13, 1991, the Society had the distinct honor of playing at Carnegie Hall.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Dartmouth College, Handel Society records

Identifier: DO-7
Date(s): 1807 to 2007
Scope and Contents The collection contains records of the Handel Society including correspondence, clippings, financial material, membership lists, constitution, and programs documenting the history of the Society. Of note are programs from concerts and productions in the years 1826 through 1995, and materials pertaining to community chorus productions organized through the Handel Society from 1925 to 1931; Notable programs featured the works, “Mikado,” “Elijiah,” HMS Pinafore,” “Robin Hood,” “Iolanthe,”...
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