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Reviving Lewis & Clark’s Choral Past

October 02, 2013

L. Stanley Glarum, a legend in Lewis & Clark music circles, headed the college’s vocal performance program from 1947 until his retirement in 1975. During that time, he built the chorus into a regionally renowned group that regularly toured throughout the West and as far afield as Hawai‘i. He was also a prolific composer, who penned more than 200 choral pieces, and a beloved teacher. Now, a new website developed by Watzek Library’s Archive and Digital Initiatives staff pays tribute to Glarum’s immense contributions to the Lewis & Clark community.

The move to honor Glarum began at the urging of Pete Vlahos B.S. ’57, a longtime associate dean of students at the college who sang in the choir under Glarum’s direction, according to Special Collections and Archives Librarian Jeremy Skinner, who oversaw the website’s creation. “Pete started out doing publicity for the music department when the choir program was really big. One of his jobs was actually promoting that choir,” Skinner says. (Vlahos passed away in 2012.)

The digital archive project began to come together in 2011, when Ethan Allred B.A. ’12 received a grant from Lewis & Clark’s Student Academic Affairs Board to travel to the offices of the American Choral Directors Association in Oklahoma City, where Glarum’s personal papers are kept. There, he digitized articles relating to his time at Lewis & Clark, including photos from tours and some of Glarum’s compositions. Allred, who is now pursuing a Ph.D. in musicology at the University of Michigan, says he hopes the collection will help alumni reconnect with their time at the college and inform current students that “great creative, artistic activities have been going on at Lewis & Clark for a really long time.”

The website itself was created with the help of music majors Erika Peregrine B.A. ’13 and Amy Waters CAS ’15, who added documents from Lewis & Clark’s archives to the papers Allred collected, constructed historical timelines, and interviewed alumni from the Glarum era.

“Glarum taught his students about singing and being in a choir, but also about being a good student and working toward shared goals,” Waters says. “It’s great to hear how excited alumni still are about the choir.”

The completed website contains a wealth of information, including recordings of choral performances, tour programs from the choir’s travels, writings by Glarum, newspaper clippings, and many photos. There are many unexpected discoveries to be found: Allred was surprised to learn that the Lewis & Clark choir was the official radio and television broadcasting choir for the American Presbyterian Church in 1962. Waters was moved by the failure of a planned tour to Europe in 1966, which was canceled when too many of its male members were drafted into the Vietnam War.

“Professor Glarum was really an important person to the school and to the music community in the Pacific Northwest,” Waters says. “The website’s purpose is to be sure he isn’t forgotten.”

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