Throughout its history, the Apollo Club has most often sung in small venues: gatherings for the display of civic pride, such as the dedication of a monument or building, or where singing could provide solace, such as at a memorial service, or cheer, such as at a retirement community celebration, or at seasonal programs open to the public at historic locations in the Boston area. In 1874, the Apollo Club sang at the funeral services of Senator Charles Sumner and received a note of appreciation from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In 1901, the Club was invited to sing at President William McKinley's memorial service at Faneuil Hall. And in 1924, when the George Francis Parkman Memorial Bandstand was dedicated on the Boston Common, 79 Apollo members sang to the accompaniment of the Boston Municipal Band.
An Early Apollo Club Logo
Singing the anthem at a Red Sox game, spring 2015
In its 150-plus years of existence, the Apollo Club has evolved from a large chorus with a classical music orientation to a glee club whose repertoire comprises folk songs, love songs, sea chanteys, show tunes, and classical and semi-classical compositions. The Boston Public Library recently presented an extensive exhibit of the Club's rich history, highlighting the part it has played in Boston's musical traditions. Included were documents and memorabilia from both the Library's and the Club's archives, with many items displayed for the first time. The Massachusetts Historical Society has accepted the Club's archives for preservation and for supporting scholarly research on the Club's role in the advancement of choral music in the Commonwealth.
Today, the Club performs for a variety of civic, religious, residential and professional organizations throughout the Greater Boston area. In addition, it presents two public concerts each year, a Christmas concert at the Gordon Chapel of Old South Church in Copley Square, and a spring concert at the Nahant Town Hall (see the Concert Schedule for dates and times). The Club is a member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium.
More information on the Club's origins and early years under the baton of its first music director, B.J. Lang, can be found in this history of the Lang family in Massachusetts.
Steven Lipsitt joined the Club as its eleventh Conductor in September 2015, the Club's 145th season since its founding in 1871.
Steven brings to the Club an outstanding musical education and excellent experience in choral and orchestral performance and conducting. He got his start with men's groups singing with the Yale Alley Cats, serving as "pitchpipe" of the Yale Whiffenpoofs, and conducting the Yale Russian Chorus. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Yale College; a rare double Masters of Music in Choral and Orchestral Conducting and an Artist's Diploma in Orchestral Conducting, both from the Yale School of Music.
Rob Humphreville has been the Club's accompanist since 1991.
Rob is a freelance organist, pianist, and choral conductor throughout the Boston area. In addition to playing in churches and synagogues, he also plays for Brooks School in North Andover, Bethany Convent in Arlington, and Temple Isaiah in Lexington. Equally at home with both popular and classical music genres, Rob especially enjoys accompanying silent movies and was singled out by the Boston Globe for his creative improvisations.