Radcliffe Choral Society

Radcliffe Choral Society

The Radcliffe Choral Society is a 60-voice all-female choral ensemble at Harvard University. [cite web
title = Harvard College Student Life Organizations: Radcliffe Choral Society
publisher = President & Fellows of Harvard College
date = 2007-06-05
url = http://www.college.harvard.edu/student/organizations/orgdetail?id=451
accessdate = 2007-08-29
] Founded in 1899, it is the country's oldest women's chorus and one of its most prominent collegiate choirs. [cite web
title = Radcliffe Choral Society
publisher = Office for the Arts at Harvard
url =
accessdate = 2007-08-29
] With the all-male Harvard Glee Club and the mixed-voice Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, it is one of the Holden Choruses. All three groups are led by Conductor Dr. Jameson Marvin and Associate Conductor Kevin Leong. [cite web
title = Kevin Leong's Public Profile
publisher = Vox
url = http://kleong.vox.com/profile/
accessdate = 2007-08-31
] RCS also has its own Assistant Conductor, Katie Woolf.


Founding and development

The Radcliffe Choral Society was founded in 1899 by Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, the first President of Radcliffe College. The Radcliffe Choral Society became one of the oldest women's choirs in the nation and the oldest women's organization at Radcliffe. In 1913, under the leadership of Dr. Archibald T. Davison, the Radcliffe Choral Society began a tradition of collaboration with the Harvard Glee Club and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Through Davison's conductorship and that of his successors, the Choral Society continued to gain prominence throughout the United States as a women's choir of distinction and excellence.

Elliot Forbes, a conductor and well-known Beethoven scholar, conducted both the Radcliffe Choral Society and the Harvard Glee Club from 1958 to 1970. [cite news
last = Watkin
first = Daniel J.
title = Elliot Forbes, 88, a Scholar Whose Specialty Was Beethoven
publisher = The New York Times
date = 2006-01-14
url =http://www.nytimes.com/glogin?URI=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/14/arts/14forbes.html&OQ=_rQ3D1&OP=5972b0e4Q2FyoX9yQ23Q7BPsQ7EQ7BQ7BeVyVQ5BQ5BnyQ5BQ51yQ51Q60yRQ7EesyQ51Q601Q7BQ7E9XsrfebU
accessdate = 2008-03-22

In the fall of 1978, Beverly Taylor became the conductor of the Radcliffe Choral Society. She led the Radcliffe Choral Society on four international tours: to the British Isles in 1979, to Northern Europe in 1983, to Central Europe in 1987, and to Sweden, Poland, and Czechoslovakia in 1992. The Radcliffe Choral Society received several international prizes on these tours, including Second Prize at the Dutch International Koorfest in The Hague and first prize in the Youth Division of the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales. Under her dynamic leadership, the group achieved tremendous growth and acclaim.

In 1995, the Radcliffe Choral Society was joined by Jameson Marvin. The group's endeavors under Marvin's baton have included its fifth international tour, to Western Europe in the summer of 1996, performing in concerts in France, Monaco, Switzerland, and Italy; a performance of Brahms' "Ein Deutches Requiem" at Lincoln Center in New York City with the Harvard Glee Club; a fourth appearance at the American Choral Directors' Association (ACDA) Convention; and the production of a compact disc.

In 1996, Constance DeFotis joined the Radcliffe Choral Society as the Associate Director of Choral Activities at Harvard. In the spring of 1998, DeFotis led the Choral Society on tour to England.

In 1999, RCS celebrated its 100th birthday with a Centennial Celebration. Among the festivities were a concert, alumnae reunion, receptions, and banquet. It was a great way for women to come together and celebrate 100 years of song with RCS. The year ended with the performance of Beethoven's "9th Symphony" at ARTS First and RCS's sixth international tour to South America.

The next five years included Spring Tours to Virginia, Northern California, and New Orleans. Recent masterworks performances performed jointly with the Harvard Glee Club and the Harvard Radcliffe Collegium Musicum include Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis" for the celebration of Jim Marvin's 25th Anniversary and Mozart's "Requiem in D" for the ACDA Eastern Division Regional Conference. RCS also made history as the first choir from Harvard to tour in Africa by traveling to South Africa for three weeks during the summer of 2004. The choir gave performances in Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as at several universities around the country in addition to visiting a number of historical sites. [citeweb
title = Harvard Choir Perform at the Groote Kerk
publisher = Cape Town
date = 2004-06-29
url = http://www.capetowntoday.co.za/Music/Live_Performance/Harvard.htm
accessdate = 2007-08-29

The 2004-2005 season began with the Harvard Festival of Women's Choruses, hosted by RCS. The event took place over two days in November and included workshops, seminars, and three concerts. Performances were given by seven high school and college women's choirs and the professional ensemble Tapestry. Special guests included composers Hilary Tann, Caron Barnett, Libby Larsen, and Patricia Van Ness, and keynote speaker Ambassador Swanee Hunt. In addition to concerts in Lexington and Cambridge this year, RCS traveled to Atlanta and surrounding areas for the annual Spring tour in March and combined with the Harvard Glee Club and the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum for the ARTS First performance of Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem.

The 2005-2006 season included a tour of the United Kingdom, during which RCS traveled to London and Cambridge. While in the UK, RCS performed in Southwark Cathedral (where John Harvard was baptized), Ely Cathedral, and Trinity College Chapel. For ARTS First weekend, RCS combined with the Harvard Glee Club and the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum to present a Victorian performance of Handel's "Messiah", featuring 19 student soloists and the Orchestra of Emmanuel Music. [cite news
last = Chang
first = Jennifer D.
title = Getting a Handel on Things
publisher = The Harvard Crimson
date = 2006-05-04
url = http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=513327
accessdate = 2007-08-31

This past season included highlights such as the traditional Christmas concert with the Harvard Glee Club, a tour to Seattle and Vancouver in March, and a combined performance of Mahler's "Symphony II" for ARTS First weekend in May.


". [citeweb
title = Regular Season Concerts
publisher = Radcliffe Choral Society
date = 2007-08-17
url = http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~rcs/concerts.html
accessdate = 2007-08-29

RCS rehearses in Holden Chapel, which was built in 1744 and sits in the middle of historic Harvard Yard. [citeweb
author = Alvin Powell
title = Newly Renovated Holden Chapel Opens Its Doors to Song and Study
publisher = Harvard University Gazette
date = 1999
url = http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/1999/12.02/holden.html
accessdate = 2007-08-29
] Most of RCS's local concerts are performed at Harvard in Sanders Theatre, which is well-known for its acoustics and design. [citeweb
title = Sanders Theatre
publisher = Office for the Arts at Harvard
date = 2007-05-03
url = http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~memhall/sanders.html
accessdate = 2007-08-29
] Yearly concerts include Harvard's Convocation, a traditional Christmas concert with the Glee Club, fall and spring performances in Sanders Theatre, and the ARTS First celebration in May.


Past Tours

* Summer 1996: Eastern Europe
* Spring 1998: England
* Spring 1999: Toronto and Montreal
* Summer 2000: South America
* Spring 2001: Washington, D.C. and Virginia
* Spring 2002: San Francisco
* Spring 2003: New Orleans and Houston
* Summer 2004: South Africa
* Spring 2005: Georgia
* Spring 2006: London, Cambridge, Ely
* Spring 2007: Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland

Future Tours

RCS is planning to tour Costa Rica during the summer of 2008, in 5 places, including Pan American School on June 12.

'Cliffe Notes

The 'Cliffe Notes is the a cappella subset of the Radcliffe Choral Society. They perform a variety of repertoire ranging from jazz to pop, all arranged by members of the group. [citeweb
title = 'Cliffe Notes
publisher = Radcliffe Choral Society
url = http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~rcs/cn.html
accessdate = 2007-08-29


External links

* [http://www.radcliffechoralsociety.org Radcliffe Choral Society]
* [http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~holchoir/ Holden Choral Ensembles]

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