The First 50 Years

  • 1900: Early music at Gettysburg College includes the Glee Club and the Guitar and Mandolin Club.
  • 1910: College Band and College Orchestra begin; on-campus performance venues include the portico of Old Dorm (now known as Penn Hall).

"The College Band gave a concert [on Friday evening] ... The program was rendered in a pleasing manner and all present considered that the Band is a credit to our school."

- The Gettysburgian, 1914

  • 1925: The Gettysburg College Musical Association is formed to involve faculty in managing and directing student music ensembles.
  • 1935: Gettysburg College Choir begins under the direction of Parker B. Wagnild, formerly of the famed St. Olaf Lutheran Choir; auditions are held at Brua Chapel (now Brua Hall). A Music Appreciation group led by Prof. W. Frederick Shaffer of the Greek department begins meeting at the home of Mrs. Robert Marsh, wife of the head of the Biology Department; she volunteers the use of her victrola for the occasion.
  • 1936: The Choir sings at the dedication of the Martin Luther memorial in Baltimore; the College Handbook describes the band, under the direction of Bertram H. Saltzer, as "the most popular of the musical organizations on campus."
  • 1937: The choir performs in a variety of venues throughout PA, NJ and MD.
  • 1945: The Woman's League of Gettysburg College launches a fundraising drive to raise $50,000 in support of a future Music Department at Gettysburg College.
  • 1946: Professor Wagnild announces plans for the introduction of the Music Department, as authorized by the Board of Trustees. Initial courses are planned in Elementary Harmony, Music Dictation, Sight Singing, and Choral Conducting.
  • 1950: The Woman's League of Gettysburg College presents $50,000 to the Department and lays the cornerstone of the Fine Arts Building.


Read the visual timeline for Music at Gettysburg College

Learn more about choral history
(PDF)