As the oldest continuing singing group at Amherst College, the Glee Club has had much to do with the college's reputation as “The Singing College”. Founded in the spring of 1865 as a student-directed double quartet, the club has found success all over the globe — to date visiting over 55 countries and performing in such varied locations as the Notre Dame Cathedral (their first visit marking the first time an American choir ever sang High Mass there), St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, St. Steven's Cathedral in Vienna, Kathmandu, and the Odium of Herodes Atticus in Athens. In 1894, it became the first American collegiate group to travel to Europe, in the mid-20s it performed for President Coolidge in the White House, and since 1960 has embarked on 7 extended World Tours. The size of the Amherst College Glee Club varies year to year and has been as high as over 100.
To mention only “firsts” or important performances, however, is to exclude an important part of the
club's history. Whether performing in the Vatican City or for local Amherst students, its prime directive, the making and sharing of good music and great experiences, never changes. As Bob Landon and Steve Grant, Glee Club alumni of 1962, put it: “Good friends, good works, memorable times. This, finally, is the story of the Amherst College Glee Club.”
The present club is directed by Amherst College Senior Lecturer in Music Mallorie Chernin and the teaching assistant Jeremy Koo '12, and consists of twenty-two men selected through auditions from the Amherst College community, as well as Five College students. Though it consists only of men's voices (TTBB), the club often sings in conjunction with the other groups of the Amherst College Choral Society, which includes the Women's Chorus, the Madrigal Singers, and the Concert Choir. The Glee Club delivers more than ten performances during the academic year. Its most recent World Tour was in Greece in May 2011.