Campus Carols

The annual Campus Carols holiday concert was a Rensselaer tradition for many years.  The genesis of the event dates back to 1944 when it was called the “Christmas Candlelight Program.”  In early December, the RPI Glee Club led the campus community in the singing of Christmas carols at the RPI Clubhouse.  In 1948, the event was renamed “Campus Carols” and moved to the ’87 Gym.  The Houston Field House became the venue in 1951 and the Russell Sage Choir joined the RPI Glee Club and Orchestra for a full evening of musical entertainment.  The event ended with a sing-a-long of well known Christmas songs.  This format continued for more than twenty years.  As far as I can determine, the last Campus Carols concert was held in 1973.  There are programs for almost every year of the Campus Carols in the RPI Glee Club Collection.

RPI Glee Club and Russell Sage Choir perform at the Campus Carols.

RPI Glee Club performs at the Campus Carols in the Houston Field House.

If you have any memories of the Campus Carols, please share them by leaving a comment.

Happy Holidays!

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1 Response to Campus Carols

  1. I was a Glee Club member during undergrad and grad times at RPI, ending in 1962. The Campus Carols was a special event for all of us.

    Every year the Glee Club entered the Field House processing from the rear corners of the rink on the ice and ending up on stage. We carried lighted candles in the darkened Field House and sang Adeste Fidelis as we carefully walked on the slippery surface. (According to Joel Dolven, Ned Harkness was not too happy about our walking on “his ice.”)

    One year we performed an orchestra/vocal version of Nutcracker which was danced by the RPI(??) Skating Club on the ice as we sang. It was a lollapalusa of a performance to say the least. Glee Club members may remember some of the silly words which still are in my mind, and which to some, conjured up some ribald word substitutions.

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