The Harvard Glee Club, the oldest collegiate choir in the nation, will open its membership to women, following new rules by the Harvard College administration that penalize students for joining same-sex organizations.
The Glee Club has been all-male since its founding in 1858. A companion all-female choir, the Radcliffe Choral Society, was established at neighboring Radcliffe College in 1899, and has continued to perform since Radcliffe was merged into Harvard.
Almost all western choral music is written for separate vocal parts — soprano and alto, for women; and tenor, baritone, and bass, for men. There are occasionally men who sing alto and women who sing tenor, but these are rare exceptions.
For centuries, choral music has made use of the biological differences between men and women to create harmonies — and to create unique sounds, in the case of music written for single-gender choirs.
There is already a mixed choir at Harvard, the Harvard Radcliffe Collegium Musicum. Though the leadership of the Glee Club told the student newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, that he does not foresee any musical changes to the group, it is not clear how the Glee Club and the Choral Society will offer musical repertoires that differ from the mixed Collegium Musicum, once they no longer maintain their traditional single-sex membership.
It might have been possible for the Harvard administration, and for the management of the choirs, to adopt an approach that admitted the rare, once-in-a-decade exception of a transgender individual who wishes to perform a vocal part that is at odds with the gender they choose two express.
Instead, Harvard and its choirs have effectively thrown the baby out with the bathwater, setting aside centuries of art for the sake of political correctness.
The reason for the push has to do with the Harvard administration’s ongoing war against private, off-campus, same-sex social clubs, called “final clubs.” These associations, some of which go back centuries, are viewed with scorn as elitist bastions that enshrine white male privilege — even though many female clubs have opened in recent decades.
Dean Rakesh Khurana has spearheaded the effort to abolish the final clubs by pushing the faculty to adopt rules that punish students who join same-sex organizations. (Ironically, the policy initially drew protest from women’s groups on campus.)
Khurana was also behind an effort to abolish the term “master,” which once referred to the faculty member in charge of Harvard’s student residential “houses,” who is now called a “faculty dean.”
The word “master” was considered a potential “trigger” for students upset by the memory of slavery, even though Harvard was a hotbed of abolitionism, and even though Harvard’s house system was created in the 20th century, well after the Civil War.
Because of the Jacobin push for political correctness, Harvard has decimated its once-diverse array of student social groups, both official and unofficial, and is now waging war against music itself.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.