Penn Glee Club becomes fully gender inclusive

Monday, April 12, 2021

Penn Glee Club becomes fully gender-inclusive after 159 years of all-male singers. In a merger with the Penn Sirens, the chorus will add soprano and alto voices and be open to singers of all genders.

The University of Pennsylvania Glee Club and the Penn Sirens have decided to merge their choral groups, meaning that for the first time since its founding 159 years ago the Glee Club will include singers of all genders and will perform repertoire for soprano and alto voices, in addition to tenor and bass, and for all four voice parts.

In the final step in a yearslong process to make the Glee Club fully gender-inclusive, currently active members voted unanimously Friday afternoon to approve an amendment to the Club’s constitution and by-laws to allow singers of all genders and all voice parts.

This is a discussion that we are seeing across student groups about equity and access and social justice. Students across campus are embracing a movement where gender is not a requirement for membership, and gender is not considered to be binary.
Laurie McCall
Laurie McCall
Director of Penn’s Platt Student Performing Arts House

“It’s a milestone day for sure; we are all really excited. It’s quite the accomplishment for all of us. It’s incredible that it’s done. It’s one for the history books,” said senior Jake Milner, Glee Club president, minutes after the vote. 

“This merger will provide amazing performance opportunities to all Penn students and creates a more inclusive performing arts community,” says junior Marina Dauer, Sirens President.

“The Penn Glee Club and Penn Sirens—two student groups near and dear to my heart who often perform at our most coveted celebrations on campus—have decided to merge, singing a most beautiful song of their commitment to gender inclusivity,” says President Amy Gutmann. “This change is historic, as the all-male choir component of Penn Glee Club is almost 160 years old. Both groups have exhibited enormous care, with the thoughtful direction of advisers and leaders at Penn, during the process of making this transformative shift, and I am proud to see where they’ve landed.”

The Penn Glee Club and Penn Sirens board members on College Green in the week before the Glee Club’s vote to merge.
The Penn Glee Club and Penn Sirens board members on College Green in the week before the Glee Club’s vote to merge.