“THE EVENT YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR”: Trial By Jury, 1951

One of my favorite things to emerge from the Faculty Club papers is this little draft of an invitation:

This performance by the Faculty Gilbert & Sullivan group began a tradition that lasted until 1966. The idea of this is almost staggering today, when pressures to publish frequently, bring in grant funding, and serve on committees leave faculty members ragged, stretched thin, and far too tired to get together and cook up a musical production–just for the fun of it.

Here’s the program:

And it was even covered by the Houston Chronicle:

If you’ve been reading this blog for very long you’ll certainly recognize many of the names, stalwarts of the faculty like Ted Lewis, Carl Wischmeyer, and Joseph Davies. (One year they even got President Houston to take a role.) Believe it or not this performance was recorded and we have a copy of the LP in the Woodson. I’ve never listened to it (we don’t have a phonograph) but I’m going to see about getting it digitized. I suddenly long to hear their voices.

Bonus: This was what I found on the back side of the invitation.

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8 Responses to “THE EVENT YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR”: Trial By Jury, 1951

  1. loki_the_bubba says:

    You don’t have a phonograph? I am appalled by this.

  2. Sandy Havens says:

    I remember that as undergraduates Helen and I did makeup for the faculty G&S production in 1954 or 1955.

  3. I can digitize phonograph records if you have no other easy source.

  4. marmer01 says:

    I recently recommended this to one of our faculty members, and he is very happy with it. Comes with cartridge and built-in phono preamplifier. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1297489-REG/teac_tn_400s_wa_3_speed_analog_turntable_with.html

  5. joecwhite says:

    More G&S history on campus: 1989-90 saw two shows, Iolanthe at Brown (with Prof. Paul Stevenson of Physics as Private Willis *and* playing keyboard in the orchestra!) and Pirates of Penzance at Wiess. 2001 saw Butter Battle, a “mash-up” of G&S with Dr. Seuss, by Jonathan Ichikawa, which led to the start of the Rice Light Opera Society. Their 2002 production of The Mikado had Prof. Dereth Phillips of Biochemistry in the chorus, featured Caroline Shaw – who was the youngest-ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music – as Peep-Bo, and was the first show conducted by Emily Senturia, who is conducting HGO’s current production of The Barber of Seville. RLOS unfortunately has been dormant since the fall of 2011, but may yet revive.

    1951 was also the year that a bunch of Kinkaid faculty and staff got together to do a G&S show, which led the Headmaster John Cooper and Dr. Merrils Lewis (of UH Music Dept. and Rice neighbor 1st Christian Church) to the founding of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston, which is still going strong today!

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