The History of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Singing Cadets

 

 Jump to; Overview, Early Years, Formative Years, Recent Years

 

 

Overview:

The Texas A&M Singing Cadets began in 1893 at Texas A&M College as the all male glee club. In 1937, after several different directors and years in limbo, 18 students came together to cement the glee club into A&M history writing a constitution and establishing the student organization that exists to this day. In 1940, the glee club was renamed the Singing Cadets as a result of a student body naming contest. Through the efforts of directors like J. J. Woolket, Richard Jenkins, “Pop” Turner, “Coach” Boone and David Kipp, the Singing Cadets became one of the elite and most popular collegiate choral groups in the country. Though Texas A&M has changed drastically since 9 members came together in 1893, the Singing Cadets remain as a strong reminder of the storied history and tradition that exist at the university.

Since their inception, the Singing Cadets have grown to receive national acclaim performing each year for more people than any other collegiate choral group in the United States. They travel each year across Texas, throughout the United States, and abroad spreading the Aggie Spirit through the gift of music. This gift has won the hearts of Aggies and non-Aggies alike. Brought together by their common love for and devotion to their school, the Singing Cadets are comprised of male Aggies who volunteer their time for long rehearsals and more than 70 performances each year. Their reward comes in the form of enthusiastic audiences, gracious host families, and service to Texas A&M. Each member works hard to reach the group’s common goal of excellence, and through their dedication continue to make the Singing Cadets the Voice of Aggieland.

 

Early Years:

1893

First written record of the Texas A&M College’s Glee Club, with 9 members made up of students and faculty. It is directed by Professor A.M. Soule and S.L. Goldberg serves as the accompanist.

1903

The group grows to 21 members and Professor Tyrrel is director.

1905

Professor T.P. Junkin, associate professor of mathematics, takes over as director and the Glee Club goes to Houston to participate in a massed chorus of 400.

1907

The Glee Club along with the A&M Mandolin Band pay their own way to attend "The Sangerfiest," in Fort Worth. There they met the immortal Fritz Kreisler, who the previous year had escaped the San Francisco earthquake, saving his famous violin as his only possession.

1908

Professor Junkin left the college, later to become the first president of GMAC in New York.

1910

The Glee Club was reorganized by Mr. F.D. Steger "for the development of individual talent, and for furnishing music in Chapel Services, Easter, Commencement, and other similar occasion."

1911

With faculty permission, the Glee Club carries out its first trip to North Texas. 22 members made the trip to Waco(Baylor), Corsicana, Fort Worth, Dallas, Denton, Denison, Sherman, Bryan, and returning to College Station by a special railway car. A lapel pin was awarded to the members this year as the only ornament allowed on the college uniform.

Later in the spring, they produce the comic opera "The Mummy Opera," which became a fantastic success.

1918

Mr D. Ford takes over as director

 Formative Years:

1937

After many years rocking along in a shaky organization, 18 Aggies with spirit and determination band together to put it on a stable foundation. This included writing a constitution which was later to make it the organization that it is today.

Professor J.J. Woolket, the head of the Department of Modern Languages at the College becomes director, being drafted in by an official faculty sanction.

1940

As a result of a naming contest, the A&M Glee Club becomes the Singing Cadets.

The Singing Cadets attract national attention when they perform in a radio broadcast at the 1940 Sugar Bowl gridiron contest.

Singing Cadets make their first recording along with the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, as well as performing with them during halftime of football games.

Tours during this year include Beaumont, Orange, Huntsville, and Conroe.

1942

Richard W. Jenkins, son of William O. Jenkins, becomes the first full-time director. Marion D. Lyle serves as accompanist.

Jenkins immediately embarks on a program to make the Singing Cadets well-known throughout the South by touring schools, colleges, clubs, and various other groups, traveling in chartered buses. This includes the National Fred Waring Glee Club Contest, where the Singing Cadets place sixth despite being only participants from a college that did not have a music department.

At this time the organization is divided into two clubs - a traveling club consisting of 84 members and a freshman club composed of 51 members.

Universal Pictures personnel began production of the picture "We've Never Been Licked," and the Singing Cadets are selected to do all the choral music under the direction of Ken Darby, leader of radio's "The King's Men."

1943

Ewell Porter, six-year director of music in the Bryan Public Schools, becomes interim director.

Tours during this year include SHSTC at Huntsville, Tyler, Henderson, Texas State College for Women, Corsicana, Camp Swift, San Antonio USO, and New Braunfels.

R.W. Jenkins left A&M on 22 Nov to become Associate Professor of Music at NTSC

1944

William M. “Pop” Turner becomes director. James Oates serves as accompanist.

1945

Tours include Baytown, Austin USO, Camp Swift, Denton, the P.O.W. camp at Huntsville, Waco, Fort Worth, Stephenville, and College Station

1946

Music Activities are moved to YMCA building and occupy the basement across from George's Confectionery and the first two floors.

Tours include Denton, Huntsville, Stephenville, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Dallas, Bryan Field Annex, and Beaumont, for the 48 members.

1947

"Pop" Turner attends Fred Waring's Summer Music Workshop and brings back many new techniques and choral arrangements to make the Singing Cadets a better organization.

Leonard N. Perkins serving as student director and accompanist. Tours include Grapeland, Denton, Dallas, San Antonio (Brook Army Medical Center), and Corpus Christi, for the 66 members. The intermission of their programs is filled with a Barbershop Quartet complete with handle-bar mustaches, polka dot ties, and aprons.

1948

L.N. Perkins and Miss Laverne Hunt serve as co-accompanists.

The Singing Cadets sing for the inauguration of Frank C. Bolton as fifteenth president of Texas A&M.

Tours include San Antonio, Texarkana, Fort Worth, Beaumont, Austin (sang for t.u. in Gregory Gym), Wichita Falls, Denton, Corpus Christi, and Dallas.

1949

Tours include Dallas (State Fair), Arlington, McKinney, Fort Worth, Denton, Corpus Christi, Austin (legislature), for the 60 members.

The Cadets debut a new quartet known as the Aggienizors.

Recent Years:

In the early and mid 50's under the direction of "Pop" Turner, the Cadets made tour after tour, staying in the homes of Aggie families. They sang for local churches and at banquets for VIPs (General Eisenhower's visit to A&M in 1951). The Singing Cadets performed for the State Legislature on Texas Independence Day in 1953. Ironically, the day after the performance, the Senate introduced a bill to make A&M coeducational. The number of members varied from 40-60, of which 45 were in the touring choir. They sang at Aggie Muster, an annual concert in Guion Hall each Mother's Day, annual Faculty Christmas programs, and Aggie Follies. Tours were throughout Texas and Monterrey, Mexico (in 1952). Included were performances in: Laredo, Tyler, Houston, Wichita Falls, Amarillo, NTSTC, TSWC, Alice, Harlingen, Brownsville, San Antonio, Brownwood, Goliad, Orange, Marlin, Waco, Sherman, Denton, Dallas, Lamesa, Yoakum, Brenham, Baytown, Liberty, Greenville, Pasadena, Gatesville, San Angelo, Longview, West Columbia, Gonzales, and others.

1960

Robert L. Boone becomes director after Dr. Turner left to become the head of the Department of Music at Stephen F. Austin State College. He begins immediately to embark on a program to widen the already wide popularity of the Cadets. Soon, the Singing Cadets are soon averaging fifty shows each year, in over twenty cities and towns throughout the state. Mrs. June Biering serves as the accompanist for the group.

1963

On Easter, 50 Singing Cadets stop to sing a selection at every street corner in the pouring rain at Six Flags Over Texas. Mr. Charles Meeker first heard the Singing Cadets then, and the following fall was very influential in gaining national recognition for the Singing Cadets, making them feature performers on the Miss Teenage America Pageant, a nationally televised event that the Singing Cadets would participate in for 8 years.

1968

Mrs. John Connally, wanting to present some Texas talent to promote the 1968 Hemisfair,asks the Singing Cadets to appear with her on the Mike Douglas show from Philadelphia that also featured Anita Bryant.

1970

Singer Sergio Franchi appears with the Singing Cadets at the Miss Teenage America Pageant and is very impressed by their version of "No Man Is An Island".

1971

Mr. Franchi requests the Singing Cadets sing backup to his version of “No Man Is An Island” on the Ed Sullivan Show and to perform a solo spot as well. However, an earlier group ran overtime and the Singing Cadets were bumped. As a result of this cancellation, the Singing Cadets were asked by the Ed Sullivan Show to return the next year. Unfortunately, Mr. Sullivan died a few months later and the show was cancelled.

The Ed Sullivan appearance leads to a 45 rpm single being released into the national music scene by Sergio Franchi and the Singing Cadets of Texas A&M. "No Man Is An Island" was released in the Spring of 1971, and despite surging sales in the College Station area, never cracked the Billboard's Top 100 Pop Chart.

Senator John Tower invites the Singing Cadets to sing for a worship service at the White House. In attendance were President and Mrs. Nixon, David and Julie Eisenhower, U.N. Ambassador George Bush, three cabinet secretaries, and Heavyweight Champion Joe Frazier. The group performed three hymns for more than three hundred guests in the East Room of the White House. Afterwards, a reception in the State Dining Room was held, and the members mixed with notables present. On the front steps of the White House after the reception, the Singing Cadets gave an impromptu concert for the press corps and White House staff. President Nixon came out, greeted each member, and talked informally for about thirty minutes. Later, he told the press corps that the Singing Cadets were one of the "finest choral groups in the land", and Mrs. Nixon, "could have listened all day" according to the Dallas Times-Herald.

1973

Singing Cadets perform at Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe’s inauguration.

1974

International Tour: Romania

Through the efforts of Congressman Olin E. Teague, Mrs. John Connally, and Sergio Franchi, the Singing Cadets are asked by the American Council of Nationalities Service and Friendship Ambassadors to tour Romania for three weeks. Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe commissioned each cadet as Official Ambassador of Goodwill for the State. While in Romania, the Singing Cadets were greeted by formal receptions and festive dinners at many of the towns visited, even appearing on Romanian national television and in keeping with the tradition of out of town tours, the group stayed in peasant family homes for one night.

1976

Texas A&M's Centennial Year

Singing Cadet history by two joint performances with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, one in Rudder Auditorium and one in Houston's Jones Hall.

Singing Cadets performed to a packed Kyle Field at the halftime Centennial show when the Aggies played Texas Tech.

1979

National Tour: Hawaii that is highlighted by a second place finish at an International Choral Festival.

1980

Singing Cadets perform with the Aggie Band at the Penn State game halftime show dedicating the Kyle Field expansion.

1981

Singing Cadets perform the pregame show and the National Anthem in the Astrodome at a nationally televised Astro/Dodger game.

1983

International Tour: Mexico (Mexico City, Acapulco, Cuernavaca) that is highlighted by a second place performance in an international choral festival and a globally broadcasted morning show appearance.

1986

Texas’ sesquicentennial birthday bring celebrations statewide and the Singing Cadets perform at the Washington-on-the-Brazos, the San Jacinto Battlegrounds, and Texas A&M Sesquicentennial celebrations.

1987

International Tour: Europe (Germany, Switzerland, France, England, Wales) highlighted by a performance in front of thousands at the Charles Dickens Festival and a joint concert with the Welsh Mixed Chorus.

1988

Tours include Alvin, Lake Jackson, El Campo, Sinton, Corpus Christi, McAllen, Alvin, La Grange, Austin, Rockwall, Plano, Dallas, Ennis, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Seabrook, Fredericksburg, San Antonio, New Braunfels, Ft. Worth, Longview, DeKalb, Marshall and the State Convention of the National Guard in Ft. Worth, travelling 3200 miles overall.

Singing Cadets sang for the National Convention of the National Guard in San Antonio, a local television special, a concert for the Texas State House of Representatives in the Capital Rotunda, the International Communicators National Convention and at commencement, where President Bush was the speaker.

Tours include San Antonio, Temple, Belton, Nacogdoches, Jacksonville, Rockwall, Granbury, Abilene, Big Lake, Coleman, Waco, Austin, Tomball, Houston, West University, Kerrville, Columbus, Huntsville, Gainesville, Dallas and Arlington

1990

Four state conventions this year including the Daughters of the Confederacy, State Rotary, Air Force Association, and John Sharp Recognition Dinner.

Tours include Lubbock , Groesbeck, Ennis, Dallas, Eastland, Coleman, Odessa, Ft. Stockton, Del Rio, Kerrville, Austin, Ft. Worth, Houston, Houston, Kingwood, Tomball, Plano, Greenville, Rockwall, Fredericksburg, San Antonio, and New Braunfels.

International Tour: West Germany and Hungary

1991

Tours include Dallas (Clayton Williams Dinner with President Bush), Bryan, Rosenberg, Lake Jackson, Victoria, Corpus Christi, Edinburg, McAllen, Eagle Pass, Uvalde, Austin, Houston, Henderson, Greenville, Dallas, Houston, Liberty, Texas City, TV Special (Patriotic Show) with our 61 members travelling over 3100 miles.

1993

National Tour: Hawaii

1995

Mr. David Kipp becomes 13th director

1996

National Tour: New York City and Washington DC

1999

International Tour: England

2001

International Tour: England, Scotland, and Wales

2003

National Tour: New Mexico and Arizona

2004

International Tour: Australia

2007

International Tour: South America

2010

International Tour: South Africa

Holly Moore Joins as Accompanist for The Singing Cadets

2013

2016

International Tour: China

Inernational Tour: Czech Republic / Slovakia / Hungary