Glee Club, 1954

I can’t remember where I first came across this 1954 photograph of Rice’s Glee club but I certainly do recall why I bothered to scan it–those wonky light fixtures instantly caught my eye. So before I thought about who is in the picture I was wondering where it was taken, something I’m still not sure about:

The picture would have been taken just after Arthur Hall (at the piano) arrived on campus to inaugurate a school of music. He set right to work, teaching a class in music appreciation and starting glee clubs for both girls and boys. Hall also took over direction of the annual faculty Gilbert and Sullivan production, which was a pretty big undertaking. Rather than have me recite Hall’s accomplishments, take a look at this article written at the time of his retirement from Rice in 1974. He sounds like a wonderful man, and I can’t help but notice that he somehow seems younger in 1974 than he did in 1954, which I suspect says something very positive about his character:

I’ve mentioned Hall here before, in connection with the organ in the chapel, but I didn’t realize until today the we have his papers in the Woodson. They look awfully interesting and I pledge to investigate as soon as we open up for business again.

Bonus: Anybody know where that top picture was taken? It has to be somewhere they kept  a piano lying around, maybe the basement of Fondren?

Extra Bonus: I was just now leafing through the 1954 Campanile for clues to that room location and I stopped to look at the page for the Rice Hillel chapter. Here are the officers:

I mention this because I happen to know one thing about Morton Rudberg off the top of my head: he had the measles in 1951. Check out this 2018 post for the explanation. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve completely wasted my life.



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12 Responses to Glee Club, 1954

  1. Grant Youngman says:

    I always enjoy posts that have a connection to the Chapel Organ (or the R-1 computer, which were both “homes” for me at Rice in the 60’s). I convinced Roland Pomerat to give me some regular practice time. Even then, before the relatively recent renovations, it was a very fine instrument in the baroque style. My main memory is that Roland would occasionally wander into the chapel and entreat me to “play more quietly” … which I almost never did.

    Grant .. Baker ’67

  2. marmer01 says:

    My guess is that the pic was taken in the basement of the Library. I seem to remember seeing lights like that down there. They probably bought an inexpensive upright for Dr. Hall’s classes.

  3. Galloway Hudson - Wiess '60 says:

    Just a thought, but a lot of activities took place in the 1950s at Autrey House, across the street. If that is where the photo was taken, those light fixtures may still be there.

  4. rusk49 says:

    In 1950 and 1951 (my Soph and Junior years) I shared a very small apartrment with Jerry Wolens and Mort Rudberg, (his cousin) and Tom Burton. It was attached to a house on Kent just South of Fleming Park. I never heard them speak of their involvement with the Rice Hillel group. We ate at Mrs. Pattersons’ boarding house on Bolsover, along with about 45 others who rented bedrooms nearby. Jerry was the only one in our group who had a car. In 53, my Senior year (’53)I rented a room further North on Kent.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      Hi Sigsby! Hope to see you again soon. Do you remember Mort Rudberg having the measles?

      • rusk49 says:

        Hi Melissa. I don’t remember Morty having measles, it may have been before he joined us in the apartment. It is hard to believe that was nearly 70 years ago. Time flies! I look forward to seeing you again. We have sold our house and in two weeks we will move to the new
        Village of Southampton high rise in Rice Village, walking distance to the campus.
        Stay well.

  5. Bill Harris says:

    Arthur Hall was indeed a nice man. I think he may have accompanied the Rice Chamber Orchestra to Europe in 1970. His compositions were a frequent part of our concerts.

    He taught a couple of music theory classes using a “text’ he wrote and duplicated for us.

    I heard (from him?) that he was related to Charles Ives, but I forget the nature of the relationship. The archives list material from the Ives family, so that substantiates some sort of connection.

  6. Carolyn Brewer says:

    Great to see the Glee Club Photo. Lots of familiar faces. I will ask one of those pictured if she remembers where photo was taken. Do you have ID’s on those pictured?

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