For nearly sixty years, the Indiana University Singing Hoosiers have brought the genre of American Popular Song to audiences in Europe, Asia, Australia, Central America, the Bahamas, and all around the United States. This study documents the development of The Singing Hoosiers out of the Indiana University Men’s Concert Choir in 1950, through their performance at the Indiana Inaugural Ball in January, 2009. The study identifies: 1) the philosophy and purpose of the Indiana University Singing Hoosiers, and what events led to its organization and development; 2) the administrative structure of the Indiana University Singing Hoosiers; 3) the directors of the Indiana University Singing, Hoosiers, and their musical backgrounds, professional backgrounds, and contributions to The Singing Hoosiers; 4) the origins of the annual concerts, such as the Chimes of Christmas and the Spring Concert, and how they have developed; 5) the development of frequent road shows and longer tours of The Singing Hoosiers; and 6) programmed choral literature for the Indiana University Singing Hoosiers.
The Men’s Glee Club at Indiana University, founded in 1893, was renamed the Men’s Concert Choir by the fall of 1948. Beginning in 1948, George Krueger directed the Men’s Concert Choir, which was renamed The Singing Hoosiers in 1950. By 1952, The Singing Hoosiers and newly founded Hoosier Queens began a series of tours with the U.S.O. (United Service Organizations), who sent them twice to the Far East, twice to Europe, once to Greenland and the North Atlantic region, twice to the Caribbean, and to military bases around the United States. The Singing Hoosiers also performed on “road shows” throughout Indiana, as frequently as 100 shows in an academic year. The Singing Hoosiers frequently served as the opera chorus at the university, performing in productions of Carmen, Faust, Boris Gudunov, and Parsifal. In 1963, Robert Stoll assumed the directorship of The Singing Hoosiers, and envisioned the ensemble as a concert show choir. He redesigned the road show in the musical form of a Broadway show, adding more complex movement to the select Varsity Singers, who performed in front of the traditional ensemble. By 1964, The Singing Hoosiers had begun to perform two annual concerts, named the Chimes of Christmas and the Spring Concert, respectively. Beginning in 1967, The Singing Hoosiers performed variety shows at Indiana University for Homecoming and the Little 500 with people such as Bob Hope and Al Cobine. From 1973 through 2009, The Singing Hoosiers frequently performed with symphonic orchestras, specifically the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under the direction of Erich Kunzel. In cooperation with Kunzel, The Singing Hoosiers have released six recordings with Telarc Records, two which were nominated for Grammies. In 1995, Michael Schwartzkopf became the third and current director of The Singing Hoosiers. Under his direction, The Singing Hoosiers sang with the Cincinnati Pops and Mel Tormé in a Christmas program, which first aired on the Public Broadcasting Service on December 24, 1995. In January, 2009, The Singing Hoosiers performed at the Indiana Inaugural Ball.
This study concludes that the purposes of The Singing Hoosiers directly related to the purposes of Indiana University. Throughout its history, The Singing Hoosiers has served as Indiana University’s “Ambassadors of Song.” This has led Indiana University officials to continue to support the activities of The Singing Hoosiers.