The Cornell University Glee Club is the oldest student organization at Cornell University, having been organized shortly after the first students arrived on campus in 1868.
Over the years, The Glee Club has spawned several spinoff a capella subsets. The club currently has only one official a cappella subset, The Hangovers, but two other spinoff groups, Cayuga's Waiters and The Sherwoods.
The Sherwoods were formed in 1958 by renegade choristers who left the Glee Club to form their spin off group.
First appearing at the Glee Club's 1956 fall concert, The Sherwoods of Cornell gained prominence quickly among collegiate musical groups. They embarked on their first international tour in the summer of 1957 with an itinerary including Hawaii and the Far East. By 1958, they were a successful act ,in there own right, and were in great demand both on and off campus.
This enormous success came at a price, however, and led to conflicts with the Glee Club, which had remained The Sherwoods' parent organization during these formative years. In the fall of 1958, the two organizations split officially.
The Sherwoods toured extensively, traveling to Hawaii, the Far East, Bermuda, the Virgin Islands, and Jamaica and on two extensive tours for the USO, entertaining troops in the Philippines, and throughout Germany .
They commonly wore dark (Sherwood) green jackets and ties for performances. Rather than sing stock arrangements, The Sherwoods wrote their own. They were known for rich 6-8 part harmony music unique among other a cappella groups of their time.
The popularity of a cappella singing faded for a period in the early 1970s and The Sherwoods stopped auditioning new members in 1973. It also marked the final year in which the Sherwoods were featured in The Cornellian, Cornell University's annual year book.
In 1985 The Class of '65 invited the 'Younger' Sherwoods back to Cornell to entertain them at their 20th reunion. It was the first time in twenty years The Youngers had met to re-learn their songs and practice their entertaining introductions. The 'Younger' Sherwoods have been returning to Cornell's Ithaca campus to perform at reunions every year since 1985, celebrating their 26th annual shows in 2010, once again entertaining the Class of '65, this time at the class's 45th reunion.
The 'Founders' Sherwoods gather at various times during the year, continuing to practice and perform the repertoire they sang during their era at Cornell. Between the two Sherwoods groups there are about 45 active Sherwood singers performing today.
Noted hit singer/songwriter Harry Chapin sang with the Sherwoods for several years, writing two songs performed by the group, 'Let me Down Easy' and 'Winter Song'. As an undergraduate, Chapin was preoccupied with his own songwriting, and he eventually dropped out of Cornell University to focus on his early career as a successful singer-songwriter.
In 1971 Fred Kewley, Sherwood musical director, became Chapin's Manager through the best years of his career, landing the recording contract with Elektra through his hits Taxi, WOLD, and Cats In The Cradle, etc., and the hundreds of concerts around the USA and Europe.