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History of The Villanova Singers: Seven Decades of Brothers in Song

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The Singers Perform in 1956

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The 1965-1966 Singers

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The 1970-1971 Singers in Concert

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The Singers Perform in 1981

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1990s Singers

 

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The Singers Perform at Winter Concert 2000

 

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The 2010-2011 Villanova Singers Perform in Italy

 

 

 

 

For The Villanova Singers, "Brothers in Song" is not only a choral piece they perform every year, it is the anthem and motto of the group. The Villanova Singers has provided generations of Villanova men a "brotherhood of song" where music, friendship and camaraderie is forever-lasting. 2015-2016 marks the 62nd season of the Villanova Singers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In The Beginning... 

 

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Dean Reuschlein
The Villanova Singers, Villanova University's highly acclaimed and versatile men's chorus, dates back to 1953 when Harold Gill Reuschlein, Dean of Villanova’s prestigious Law School, established the group for the purpose of singing various types of music and enriching the cultural life of the University. Dean Reuschlein began a tradition of brotherhood in song that has grown to be one of the strongest, most active, most successful organizations on campus.  Dean Reuschlein was known to say that he was "as proud of the Villanova Singers as I am of what the Law School has become."  (Scroll down for a remembrance of Dean Reuschlein.)

 

 

 

 

The Fiss Decades

 

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Dr. Herbert Fiss
Dean Reuschlein was succeeded by the beloved Dr. Herbert Fiss, the second director of Villanova Singers.  “Herbie”, as he was fondly known, directed the Singers for two decades (1957 - 1977) with an iron will and a tender heart.  Under his direction, the Singers performed major works such as Beethoven's Mass in C, Haydn's Mass in Time of War and Lord Nelson Mass, and Missa Criolla by Ramirez.  The repertoire included a wide range of liturgical and secular works, including contemporary pieces arranged by Mr. Fiss himself.  Highlights included a command performance for Governor Raymond P. Shafer of Pennsylvania and a concert with Metropolitan Opera soprano Eileen Farrell. Among the many gifts he left the group, probably the most memorable is his crowd-pleasing arrangement of Pepita. (Scroll down for Memories of Hebert Fiss) 

 

 

 

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Fr. Dennis Wilde

 

The Wilde Years 

The Singers third director, upon Dr. Fiss’ retirement to Florida, was Rev. Denis Wilde O.S.A.  Fr. Denis took the baton in Fall 1977 and directed the group until May 1981. He then took a leave of absence to complete his Ph.D in Music from Catholic University and returned to Villanova in the Fall of 1984. He again directed the Singers through May 1988. Father Denis, an accomplished musician and arranger, not only brought new music to the Singer’s growing repertoire, but also injected refreshing energy into some of the all-time classics.  

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Michael Luisi, 1982

 

 

During Father Wilde's leave of absence, Michael Luisi directed the group for three seasons (81-82, 82-83, and 83-84).  Mike, who participated in the 2008 Singers Legacy Weekend, passed away on February 24, 2010 at the age of 58 after a long illness. Memorial contributions may be made to the ALS Association, 321 Norristown Road, Suite 260, Ambler, PA 19002.

 

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Adriane Torisi, 1989

 

For the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons, the Villanova Singers were directed by Adriane Torrisi (now Sister Adriane Torisi).  In addition to her directing talents, Adriane herself was a talented singer, performing with the Singing City Choir of Philadelphia. After leaving Villanova, she spent six years as Music Director of the St John Eudes Music Ministry in Chatsworth, CA. In 1996, Adriane entered the convent of the Sisters Devoted to the Sacred Heart. Sister Adriane is now based in Santa Ana, California.

 

The Meneely Decades

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Brian Meneely became the Singers' director in 1990; the 2011-2012 school year marked his 22nd and final season leading the group.  Under his direction, the Singers performed such works as Faure's Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Brahms' Rhapsody for Contralto and Men's Chorus, Schubert's Mass in G, John Rutter's Gloria, and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, as well as several arrangements by Meneely. Under Brian's direction, the Singers  recorded two compact discs entitled "Brothers in Song" and "Upon the Campus Green." Brian’s twenty-two years of service helped continue a tradition of outstanding music and a powerful “Brotherhood of Song.” We wish Brian a glorious retirement filled with friends, family, fun, and music.

 

Tim Evers 

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As the 2012-13 season began, Tim Evers became the seventh Director of the Villanova Singers. Tim had been the Singers' accompanist for several years, and he directed the Singers in a number of concerts when previous Director Brian Meneely was ill, so the current Singers knew Tim well and were thrilled to learn he was taking the helm.

At the conclusion of the 2014-15 Singers season, Tim announced he had accepted the role of Minister of Music at Wayne Presbyterian Church, in Wayne, PA. Tim had been involved in their music program for a number of years, directing the Westminster Choir, Selah Bell Choir, and the Wayne Presbyterian Church Chamber Orchestra. He accompanied the Chancel Choir and the Wayne Oratorio Society rehearsals; and played the organ.Unfortunately this new role will consume all his time, so the Villanova Singers are now searching for a new director to lead the 2015-16 season.


The Singers are governed by an elected 8-member executive board of students. They sing an eclectic repertoire, ranging from sacred to patriotic, gospel to contemporary. The Singers enjoy sharing their music with the Villanova Voices, the all-women counterpart to the Singers, with whom they sing in concert in both the winter and spring. 

 

On The Road Again... 

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Midwest Tour 1970
A highlight for Villanova Singers is the opportunity to perform "on the road." In the early years, the destination of a tour was often a girls' college, and the concerts involved performances by the Singers, the choir from the host college, plus a major joint number. After the concert, a "mixer" offered the chance for the hostesses and guests to socialize. 

Tour bus trips are often memorable social events, offering opportunities to have fun, play cards, and (of course) sing. Air travel broadened the horizons for Singers tours.  Since 1963, the Singers have logged more than 200,000 miles, leaving behind a long and distinguished trail of accomplishments stretching as far west as California, as far north as Canada, as far south as Brazil, and as far east as Poland and Greece. Singers tours typically produce great memories, and great musical moments, and there are a number of Singers who met their future wives on Tour.

 

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Singers On Tour in Greece, 1997

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In the 1960's, the Singers perform Bach's Magnificat with a college in the Midwest

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On Tour in Poland, 1980

Some recent highlights include 7-day tours of Italy in the spring 2001, Austria and Germany in the spring of 2003, Puerto Rico in the spring of 2004, Montreal in the fall of 2004 and a return trip to Italy in the spring of 2005.  In March 2007 the Singers performed on tour in Spain, and 2009 brought the Singers to South America for the first time, in Brazil.

 

The Singers returned to Italy in February/March of 2011. The tour included performances at the Duomo in Spoleto, the Basilica of Saint Benedict in Norcia, the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi, a joint concert with an Italian choir in Lucca, and an evening Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. And of course, there were impromptu bursts of song at the Trevi Fountain and at other assorted spots throughout the tour.

 

In March 2015, the Singers toured in The Czech Republic and Austria.

 

Because the Singers budget has not grown for decades, and travel costs have soared, the Singers have drastically reduced their tour schedule. The Villanova Singers Endowment Fund has been created to subsidize Singers tours. Visit the Endowment page to learn how your donation can support Singers tours for generations to come.

 

 

 

The Villanova Spires: Origins

 

 

Reverend Edward C. Doherty recalls: I was appointed Moderator of the Villanova Singers in January, 1962.  Father Syvinski, my predecessor, in acquainting me with  the organization, indicated that the SPIRES, a specialty group within the Singers, had  been started   the previous Spring, i.e., 1961, and had performed  a few selections at concerts that year.   Subsequently,  in speaking with some of the members of the first SPIRES (Tom Picardo, Jack Blake, John Sperger, Santo Agolino, as  best as I can recall), it was mentioned that a name  for the group had been designated, i.e.,  THE SPIRES. They  certainly were well received at the Singers' concerts in the Spring of 1962 as well as at all concerts while I was Moderator of the Villanova Singers until 1972.  The rest is history!

 

 

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Before attending Villanova, Tom Picardo co-founded a doo wop group called the Criterions with his friend Tim Hauser. At Villanova, Tom and Tim performed in the Singers, and Tom was the founding Director of the Villanova Spires.

 

Other members of the 1962-63 Spires were Jack Armstrong, Jack Blake, Jim Croce, Tim Hauser, Jim Quinn, Frank Romano, Ron Sisca, and John Sperger.

 

 

After graduation, Tim created the group Manhattan Transfer. Tom sang and released albums (using the stage name Tommy West)  as Cashman, Pistilli, and West; Cashman & West; and the Buchanan Brothers; and he released a solo album. Tom produced Jim Croce's albums; he continues to produce music today. To read an interview with Tommy West, click HERE.

 

 

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The Manhattan Transfer Perform at Trude Heller's in 1973

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Manhattan Transfer founder Tim Hauser (bottom right above), with Manhattan Transfer today. His partners are Alan Paul, Janis Siegel, and Cheryl Bentyne.  

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Jim Croce, Class of 1965, was a member of the Singers and The Spires (who used the name "Coventry Lads" when they were performing at events not sponsored by Villanova). After Villanova, Jim pursued a music career, and found great success. He died, tragically, in a plane crash at age 30, shortly before the release of his fifth album.  Two of his singles, "Time in a Bottle" and "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" reached Number 1 on the Billboard chart.

 

 

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The 1962-63 Spires: front row, l to r: Tom Picardo, Frank Romano, Ron Sisca, Jim Quinn. back row: Tim Hauser, Jack Armstrong, John Sperger, Jack Blake, Jim Croce

 

Over the years, the Spires evolved from performing with guitars and bass to become an a cappella group. YouTube features many performances by the Spires; search for "Villanova Spires."

 

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The Spires 2007-2008

 

 

Perfect Union  

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The Original Perfect Union, 1976
Another a cappella group was founded during the year of our nation’s bi-centennial in 1976.  The Perfect Union, a double entendre name for Villanova’s only barbershop quartet, began blending their tight harmonies, colorful costumes and humorous “shticks” as an interlude during Singers’ concerts. Their repertoire included many traditional barbershop favorites like Coney Island Baby along with more contemporary and even sacred pieces. 

Perfect Union were featured at Villanova Singers concerts from 1976 through the 1989-90 seasons. Villanova's original a cappella group was the precursor for the many a cappella groups that now exist on campus.

 

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Reunited, 2006

 

At a Villanova Singers concert in 2006, there was a "Perfect Re-Union" when members of the original group performed again, and group members have performed at the Singers Legacy Events in 2007 and 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Written by Michael Fink, Singers President 2004-05

- Edited by Bob Crowley, Singers President 1978-79 

 

 Herbert Fiss In Memory... 

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Herbert Fiss, who touched the lives of hundreds of Villanova singers from 1957 to 1977, left this world on June 24, 2004, at the age of 93.  Until the end, music was very much a part of his life.  

From the program of the 75th anniversary of the Reading Leiderkranz Choruses [1960]

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

In the year 1926, Professor Herbert Fiss came to the United States as a boy of fourteen from Breslau, Germany [which is now Wroclow, Poland].  After completing his musical studies, he specialized in directing German choral groups.  In a short time, he became one of the leading directors in this field and most influential in keeping this German tradition alive.
Professor Fiss founded and conducted the Lehigh Valley Symphony and in the past has conducted for the Philadelphia La Scala Opera, the Starlight Operetta Company of Dallas, Texas, and the Wilmington Opera Company.  He is currently the director of the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.  Professor Fiss is director of music in the music department of Villanova University, St Joseph's College, and Rosemont College, and the Holy Family College.  In his position as director of the singing groups of these schools, he is greatly loved and respected. Professor Fiss is also director of several singing societies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Under his expert leadership, one of his groups usually wins first prize in the singing competition conducted by the United Singers Federation of Pennsylvania and the Northeastern Saengerbund.

Professor Fiss came to the Reading Liederkranz in 1935 and this year marks this 25th consecutive year as the director of the chorus.  In this capacity, he has made an inestimable contribution toward the preservation of German singing in Reading.   The versatility of Professor Fiss is well known.  His friendly manner and efficient teaching methods ensure progress and have led the choruses to fine accomplishments.

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 Comments about Herbert Fiss

Mr. Fiss was an excellent musician, a consummate professional and a bona fide nice guy.  He will be missed.  I'm certain that he has already broken a baton directing a rehearsal of the Heavenly Choir.  (Can Angels sing Pepita?) - Tom "Stacker" McConnell '79 

"Uncle Herbie" was a huge influence on all of us as musicians, which is what we became under his tutelage.  We all loved him and tried to emulate his dedication to music while at Villanova and after.  I believe that I still sing today because of what he taught me as a young man. - Don Hoyt '70   

But to have had the great fortune and honor of being taught and led by Herbert Fiss: that indeed was the essence of being a Singer.  Stern one minute, joking the next, always striving for perfection.  A master of both music and men, he made us want to sing, and sing well.  Such was his skill that almost thirty years later I still remember what he taught.  Whether it was in German, Spanish, Latin or Hebrew, the songs that he gave us are deeply embedded in my memory, as are his charm, wit and passion.  I can say is that I am a far better man for having met Herbert Fiss.  It was an honor and a joy to have sung for him.  I go now, with the world a little quieter, and the music a little less sweet, but with memories that I will cherish forever.  - Paul Belcastro '77 

Singing in the Singers for Mr. Fiss is one of the accomplishments in my life of which I am most proud. - Dave Koch, ‘74 

Herbert Fiss was a great director and a great man.  He was incredibly demanding and caring, and he brought out the best in each of us.  He nurtured a joy of singing, and all the music he taught me remains firmly planted in my brain, 34 years after graduating.  He inhabits my memories frequently, and I continue to thank him for his great gift of music. - Paul Orleman, ‘73

Mr. Fiss enriched all of us far beyond that which he taught us about music.  He taught us the value of dedication, hard work, striving for perfection and professionalism...If we believe that "he who sings prays twice," we can all rest easily knowing Mr. Fiss is happy in heaven. Just think of how many prayers were said through Mr. Fiss through the years!  - Nicholas Moles '75

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I remember Mr. Fiss well and gladly.  He'll have that upstairs string section in shape in no time and those heavenly choirs of Angels had better get ready to "sing a little bit sharp."  - Tom Burke '69

Dr. Fiss was a tremendous influence in my life.  He was a true genius who had a deep love of music that he showered over us.  His passion for music was contagious.  I still sing today thanks to the confidence and inspiration instilled in me by Dr. Herbert Fiss.  He will be missed. - Fred Malvagno '70

He taught me to sing out and not be afraid of it.  He was a major influence in my life.  He started me out on a road I still travel, as I have continued to sing many operas & concerts in the last 30 years.  I think of him fondly on stage because he's one of the major reasons I'm still there today. - Paul McIlvaine '71 

Hear Mr. Fiss Direct the Singers!     

Thanks to Glenn Reitmeier, you can listen to a five minute montage of Mr. Fiss directing a practice session of the Villanova Singers in his last year as Director, 1977. For those who had the privilege of singing for him, there is no doubt you will remember some of these "Mr. Fiss-isms"! Click here 

 

In The Beginning: Memories about the birth of the Villanova Singers

by Conrad "Moose" Urban '56 (inaugural Villanova Singers president)

ImageIn the beginning, during the Freshman year of the class of 1956, (1952) there was an abortive attempt to start a “Glee Club.”  I recall Tom Blackmore was involved.  There was poor reception of the group and a lack of enthusiasm by the conductor.  They gave only one concert.  There was also a Schola Cantorum which was quite active but very small.  Involved in the Schola were Jack Padova, Don Davis, Tom Blackmore and myself, Connie aka “Moose” Urban.  I also played the organ for some of the masses. The Schola was directed by Fr. Saelmann, a priest from the Netherlands.  In 1953, our Sophomore year, Fr. Saelmann left Villanova and the Schola valiantly hung together sans director. 

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Dean Reuschlein at the Organ, 1955
At the same time, Dean Reuschlein arrived on campus with the assignment of starting a Law School at Villanova.  Since we wanted to continue the Schola and hopefully expand to a secular group, AND since we had heard that Dean Reuschlein was an excellent organist and had been the Music Director of the Cathedral in Pittsburgh, we hoped he would rescue us. Early in October of 1953 Jack Padova and Connie “Moose” Urban went to Dean Reuschlein's home to BEG him to take over the Schola and direct a secular group.  I clearly remember him sitting at the dining room table dressed in a white shirt and vest, (since he was “relaxing” at home, he didn't have his usual coat and tie on), with a cigar in a cigar holder.  When we told him the reason for our visit, he protested that he did have a Law School to start!  BUT he did love choral music, and he would consider it IF the students handled ALL the administrative duties. Then, almost as an aside, he added, “I just can't stand the name GLEEEEE Club!  I won’t do it if you call it a GLEEEEEE Club.”  Connie suggested simply calling ourselves the “Villanova Singers,” which we could use for both secular concerts and religious liturgy. 

That is how the Villanova Singers were formed and named.  (Since it wasn’t called a GLEEEEEEE Club, Dean Reuschlein became the first director of the Villanova Singers.) 

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The Villanova Singers Perform at Immaculata, 1955

Conrad "Connie" Urban took on the job as first president of the Singers. Soon after we started officially as the Villanova Singers, there was a smaller group formed from within that group and we named ourselves “The Mainliners.”  This was in reference to Villanova being on the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Rail Road, and we had no inkling of the association it would later make to the drug culture.  We were still living in the days of innocence.  We were also an all-men’s college.  But we did have “sister schools” in relatively close vicinity.  And it was to those sister schools that this small group would go to “sing for our supper” and to scope out the “talent” for future social functions! 

The first Mainliners were: John (Jack) Jannuci, who sang lead, Joe Valenti was tenor-1, Joe D’Aquila (R.I.P.) was Baritone, Jack Padova and Connie Urban sang bass/baritone. Bill Smith, who joined us in year two also sang Baritone.   (After Connie Urban left at the end of his Junior year in 1954 because of early admission to Medical School, Chuck Brockman took his place singing Bass/Baritone.) Our first introduction was “I’m Joe, I’m Jack, I’m Joe, I’m Jack, and my name is ‘Moose.’”  

I am still trying to remember some of the old standards that we sang.  The ones that immediately come to my mind are: “Winter Song,” “Mister Moon,” “The Halls of Ivy,” "Margie," and some sea chanteys. ("What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor?", etc.).  I also remember a wonderful arrangement of the Villanova Alma Mater by Dean Reuschlein, which I don’t think is the one on our website, nor the one currently being used.   

 

Some additional memories of early Singers... 

by Chuck Brockman, Class of 1957 

After Moose, Jack and other key members of the class of ’56 established a strong foundation with The Dean as the Director, ’57, ’58, & ’59 classmates came rapidly aboard to assist in building the rest of the structure.  Urban, Padova, Valenti, Jannuci and Smith started the Mainliners and performed at all of our concerts.  Their songs as I recall were based   on barbershop arrangements and popular group quartets of the late 50’s.   My Little Margie; Down By The Riverside; No, Not Much; Standin’ On The Corner; Halls of Ivy; I Had A Dream Dear; and occasionally a musical number from Turf n’ Tinsel’s closing original song  It’s Been Nice, It’s Sure Been Nice And We’re Mighty Glad You Came were the memorable songs.  

Being a Mainliner was a quest of many.  Reason? They were a small number, mobile and ready to sing at the drop of a hat or an offer of refreshment of various kinds… food or liquid.  They sang everywhere including formal and informal dances and parties, especially when Bobby Schiller ’57 (RIP) and the Wildcat Five were playing.   Bobby Schiller was a tangential part of the Singers as the Villanova Band Director. It was in 1956 when the Singers and the band joined together with RCA producing a 45rpm recording of the Alma Mater, the Winter Song, the March of the Wildcats and “V” for Villanova.  We didn’t sell a million but we did make Villanova history – the first recording. 

Our first television performance was on WHYY public television, arranged by Ed Rofi ’59.  We sang the Winter Song, Brahms Lullaby, Lo How a Rose E’re Blooming, the Halls of Ivy, and the Alma Mater.

In 1956 we had a major musical gathering on stage at the now Jake Nevin Field House. There were singing groups from Penn, LaSalle, Temple, St. Joes, Immaculata, Rosemont, Chestnut Hill with Villanova being the host. Each school did a medley of their own favorite songs and then we all joined together singing the Prayer of Thanksgiving and The National Anthem with the Dean directing.  What a moment!   There were +/- 3000 in attendance. 

We also sang Latin Mass at all of the university retreats and English hymns during special services in the Chapel. But, my most memorable experience was the Faculty Christmas dinner where we were the entertainment. The Dean finished his dinner and joyfully joined us on stage to direct us singing his favorite songs for all of the gathered professorial staff.   Because he was in high spirits, he directed with gusto and, as a result, we enthralled the faculty audience who gave us a standing ovation.   

Afterwards the Singers went over to Rosemont and we serenaded each dorm with Christmas carols. When finished, we gathered together with the Rosemont Choral Group for songs and refreshments in their Tea House. Since we earlier had a joint concert with Rosemont, we sang some of the songs we did together such as the medley from Oklahoma.  My favorite was the classic movement from Dvorak’s New World Symphony – Going Home.  They were sweet memories. 

Last but not least, in our formative years Moose escaped and went to medical school for early admission.  His departure left us without an accompanist and part time leader. Fortunately, Jack Padova took over the baton as student director and we were graced with a new accompanist Ken Macgillivray ’59 a superb pianist.   Also, in addition to Chuck Brockman singing the first verse of the Alma Mater, Peter Scott ’56, tenor/soloist, would give a special presentation and beautifully sing Che gelida manina from La Boheme.  

During those early years we began to make our mark and add concerts each year. By   1957 according to Charlie Ross ’57 President, we sang in 21 formal concerts and performed in dozens of informal concerts on and off campus.  We were on our way.   In 1957, at the young age of three years and with 70 voices, The Villanova Singers were making an impact. Finally, there are three members of the singers, class of ’57 who played 150lb football at Villanova: Vince Cardella, Jim Judge and Chuck Brockman.  That’s a bit of trivia that is meaningless but had fond memories for the three. 

 

 

 

HAROLD GILL REUSCHLEIN: The Singers Dean

by Robert Lima, Class of 1957

When I entered Villanova College as a freshman in the Fall of 1953, I met Dean of the Law School Harold Gill Reuschlein.  That meeting was to prove of great import in my life.

The Dean, as everyone called him, had only recently become the founding Dean of the Villanova School of Law, which opened its doors to the first class that Fall Semester of 1953.  At forty-nine years of age, he was a dynamo.

When Villanova decided to proceed with plans to create a law school, the search began for an individual to head the new institution. A nationwide search was conducted and the position was offered to Professor Harold Gill Reuschlein, then a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  He was appointed Dean in March of 1953.  The Villanova School of Law opened its doors in September of that year.
 
Dean Reuschlein built the school from the ground up and in 1956, the first class of 28 graduated.  In that same year the American Bar Association granted full accreditation, while in 1957, the law school was tendered membership in the Association of American Law Schools.  A subsequent recognition of its status was the granting in 1961 of a chapter of the Order of the Coif, the national law honorary; Villanova  School of Law was the first church-related law school to be so honored.

Not only had the Dean undertaken the complex job of constituting a law school in 1953, he had also been approached by a group of undergraduates and talked into taking on another project of a vastly different nature.  His reputation as the music director and organist at St. Paul Cathedral in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, along with other music activities over the years, had become known in the process of his candidacy for the deanship and so the students asked him to found a male choral group.

He accepted that challenge as well. The Villanova Singers began in 1953 and I was one of the original members of the group, singing in the Second Tenor section.  The Dean had great patience with those of us who were less than perfect in the execution of the liturgical, religious and secular music he had chosen for the repertory.  Many of us had sung in high school choirs but the expectations of the Dean were of a higher caliber than those of our earlier directors.  He was after perfection.  He honed us into a finely-tuned chorus of male voices.

Performing at area colleges and other venues with the Dean as conductor over my four years as an undergraduate at Villanova was a major aspect of my university education.  And making “a joyful sound” as we performed popular tunes or conveying the deeper tonalities of a Mass or of a classical piece were exalting experiences.  One felt the Dean’s own emotions as he led us in the variety of song and even though he was not an alumnus of Villanova, the singing of the “Alma Mater” stirred him greatly for the sound he elicited from us was indeed ethereal.

The Dean passed away in 1998 at the age of 93.   He was born on December 2, 1904 in Burlington, Wisconsin.  He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1927 with a degree in history and on April 24, 1930 married Marcella Christien, his wife of nearly 69 years. Before attending Yale Law School, Reuschlein was an instructor in History at New York University, a position he continued during his law studies, as well as acting as choirmaster and organist at a New Haven church.  He was multi-tasking before the phrase became commonplace.

After graduating from Yale Law School in 1933, Reuschlein continued his legal studies at Cornell on a fellowship, where he earned a JSD, an advanced doctorate in law. Thereafter, he worked briefly at a Philadelphia firm as assistant general counsel but left when offered a position at Georgetown University in 1934.  It was the beginning of a career in legal education that would span five decades, interrupted only by service in the Judge Advocate General’s department in the U.S. Army during World War II, earning the rank of Colonel.  After Georgetown, he taught law at Notre Dame, Syracuse and Pitt.

Having retired from Villanova in 1972 as Dean Emeritus, he became the Katherine Ryan Distinguished Professor of Law at St. Mary's University of San Antonio.  But he returned to Villanova in 1984, remaining an important force in the law school he had founded until his death.

Through the sheer force of his personality and indefatigability, he shaped the law school from its founding and watched over it through many decades.  "The Villanova Law School is largely the story of one man and his contribution to American legal education," said the late John G. Stephenson III, a noted legal academic, in 1972. "No individual has given more to the cause of American legal education than Harold Reuschlein," read the certificate presented by the American Bar Association, during an awards ceremony in 1992  in which the dean was honored with the Robert J. Kutak Award.

The then President of Villanova, Rev. Edmund J. Dobbin. O.S.A., said, "Dean Reuschlein's inspired vision and leadership established Villanova as a premier law school in an incredibly brief period of time."

Thanks to the commitment and vision of the Dean, just as the Villanova Law School has thrived and has had an impact on the legal profession, the parallel organization he founded in 1953, The Villanova Singers, continues to make a vibrant contribution to the cultural life of Villanova University, the Philadelphia area, and far-flung places throughout the U.S and the world.

The alumni of the Singers have created the Villanova Singers Legacy, an organization that has met at the university in 2007 and 2008, and will do so again every two years.  The Villanova Singers Legacy is a tribute to Dean Harold Gill Reuschlein as founder and inspiration to the directors who followed him in the creation of a brotherhood of song.

 
 
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