This post is based on the “University of Illinois Glee and Mandolin Clubs, 1889-1921” exhibit currently installed at the Urbana Free Library for the 5th annual C-U Folk & Roots Festival, November 1-2, 2013.
Mandolin, banjo, and guitar clubs were wildly popular beginning in the late 1880s. They sprang up across the country and quickly became trendy with college students. The Mandolin and Guitar Club at the University of Illinois–alternately known as the Mandolin and Banjo Club, and the Mandolin Club over the years–organized in 1889 and was one of the oldest university musical organizations, outranked only by the Band and Glee Clubs. From its inception, the Mandolin and Guitar Club united with the Glee Club in one management association for concerts. These clubs constituted a central part of student life and served as the musical representatives of the University of Illinois. The whole group frequently spent university vacations on the road performing, meeting alumni, and raising funds. Continue reading “Glee and Mandolin Clubs, 1889-1921”