Guilford for $400, Alex
A contestant earned $400 for answering “What is singing?” to a question posed by host Alex Trebek about what Guilford College did not allow until 1887. The clue: “Finally, glee club!”
In fact, initial steps towards allowing music on campus were made in 1887, the year before the boarding school became Guilford College, according to College Archivist Gwen Erickson. However, archival documents do not make it clear if piano or singing lessons or a combination of things were allowed that year, she says.
In her book, Guilford: A Quaker College, Dorothy Lloyd Gilbert writes, “In the boarding school days singing was a misdemeanor, a lapse from grace comparable to the wearing of finery or the speaking of the language of the world, and the conviction still persisted that young Friends should use no music.”
Music was given no official place in the curriculum until 1894, when the College purchased a piano and an organ and employed a music teacher, according to the book. By the early 20th century, singing was a natural part of student life and glee clubs and an a cappella choir were established, Gwen says.