Villanova Singers History

Welcome to this digital interactive history of the Villanova Singers. Navigating is self explanatory. Be sure to click on events for more information, videos and audio (when available). The view defaults to 2D but if you really want a mind-blowing experience switch to 3D by clicking on the round "3d" button in the bottom left corner. We hope you enjoy and appreciate the rich and meaningful legacy of the Villanova Singers!

Special thanks to Bill Ippolito who without his multi-decade effort to locate, assemble and curate the 1,000s of materials displayed here, we'd have no record of the Singers storied history and accomplishments.

1953-06-01 00:00:00

IN THE BEGINNING

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.

1953-09-01 00:00:00

Harold Gill Reuschlein

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."

1953-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1953-54

From the Yearbook: "The purpose of the Villanova Singers is to afford undergraduates the opportunity of participation in choral singing. It's activities include choir for chapel once weekly; music for special masses during Junior Week and Holy Week; repertoire of secular music for various public appearances throughout the year."

1953-09-01 00:00:00

Nick Rinaldi, '56

Accompanist

1953-09-01 00:00:00

Connie 'Moose' Urban, '56

Accompanist

1954-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1954-55

From the Yearbook: Two years ago the Villanova Singers were formed in order to provide a group dedicated to the singing of both sacred and secular music. The purposes of the new club were threefold: to provide the university with a good singing group, to add to the solemnity of religious exercises that only a vested choir can provide, and to present good religious and secular musical literature. In the last two years the organization has accomplished all that the Dean has set out to do. This year's season, highlighted by the Choral Festival, included a joint television appearance with Penn from the Palestra, concerts at the neighboring girls' colleges and alumni clubs, and the Mother's Day and Retreat Masses.

1955-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1955-56

1956-06-01 00:00:00

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.

1956-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1956-57

1956-09-01 00:00:00

Ken MacGillivray, '59

Accompanist

1957-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1957-58

1958-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1958-59

From the Yearbook: One of the more active organizations on campus is the men's Glee club. Rehearsals and concert appearances occupy this group of 80 men from Septenber to May. This year, invitations were accepted to sing in New York and Camden in addition to the usual performances at Philadelphia colleges and academies.

1958-09-01 00:00:00

Rev. Henry Sylvinski, OSA

Moderator

1959-09-01 00:00:00

Norma Fiss

Accompanist

1959-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1959-60

From the Yearbook: From the Kyrie Eleison of Jan Mul's Mass sung in the fall until the closing strains of the Alma Mater in June, the Villanova Singers are active. The singers are "on the road" during the concert season, singing as many as thirty concerts, the highlight of which is the Choral Festival held in March. Their organization instituted the Festival four years ago, and it has met with continued success. Many of the Masses held in the chapel during the school year are sung by the Singers, including the Red Mass for the law students and the Navy's Military Mass. The quality and finesse of this group rightly entitles them to be called ambassadors of Villanova.

1960-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1960-61

From the Yearbook: The Villanova Singers have somewhat of a dual purpose, as shown through the nature of their activities. Our purpose is to sing and assist at various religious services throughout the year, including the annual Red Mass for the law students, and the navy's Military Mass. The second phase of endeavor is their concert activity, which begins in the second semester. During this time the members are "on the road," serving as ambassadors of song while presenting concerts at nearby colleges. The Singers have found that a popular concert group is also a very effective builder of good will.

1961-04-01 00:00:00

Founding of The Spires

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.

1961-04-01 00:00:00

Tom "West" Picardo

Tom Picardo's (stage name Tommy West) career as a performing artist began in 1958 when he co-founded the doo-wop group the Criterions with Tim Hauser, a classmate of his at St. Rose High School in Belmar, New Jersey. In 1959, the group hit the pop charts with "I Remain Truly Yours." At Villanova, Tom and Tim performed in the Singers, and Tom was the founding Director of the Villanova Spires.

1961-09-01 00:00:00

Tim Hauser

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

1961-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1961-62

From the Yearbook: The Villanova Singers, seventy strong, have attained their present position as one of the top clubs in the East through many hours of laborious proctice. The Classroom Annex is the scene of such practice every Monday and Wednesday evening. The old building seems to come alive as the men work for the finesse and skill that is expected of them.

1961-09-01 00:00:00

Rev. Edward C. Doherty, OSA

Moderator

1961-09-01 00:00:00

Nick Salvatore, '64

Accompanist

1961-09-30 00:00:00

Jim Croce

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. Click on "audio" in upper left to hear a 1962 recording from the Coventry Lads

1962-09-01 00:00:00

Spires 1962-63

The first Spires

1962-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1962-63

Spires and Villanovans LP

1963-09-01 00:00:00

Spires 1963-64

1963-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1963-64

1964-09-01 00:00:00

Spires 1964-65

1964-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1964-65

From the Yearbook: While they culminate their yearly schedule of choral adventures with a tour of the Mid-western United States, the primary function of the Villanova Singers has been entertainment through on-campus appearances. Campus performances include the Red Mass and Christmas and Easter tapes that were made available to the 456 affiliates of the Mutual Broadcasting System.

1964-09-01 00:00:00

Joseph Taraskas, '68

Accompanist

1965-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1965-66

From the Yearbook: The present Villanova Singers is a composite of past musical traditions of the University. In 1953, the Scola Cantorum (sacred) music) was merged with the College Glee club. Thus we have the Villanova Singers of today, the men's glee club presenting classical, liturgical, popular, and folk music. The two dozen or so members of thirteen years ago provided the impetus for the organization which presently boasts ninety members. Simultaneous to the increase of size, the expanded concert schedule has carries the reputation of the Singers and the University throughout the Midwest and East Coast, over 10,000 miles and 100 concerts in the past four years.

1965-09-01 00:00:00

Spires 1965-66

1966-09-01 00:00:00

Spires 1966-67

1966-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1966-67

1967-09-01 00:00:00

Spires 1967-68

1967-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1967-68

1968-09-01 00:00:00

Spires 1968-69

1968-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1968-69

1968-09-01 00:00:00

Mike DelPriore, '72

Accompanist

1969-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1969-70

1969-09-01 00:00:00

Spires 1969-70

1970-09-01 00:00:00

Spires 1970-71

1970-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1970-71

1971-09-01 00:00:00

Spires 1971-72

1971-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1971-72

1971-09-01 00:00:00

Rev. Edward L. Hamel, OSA

Moderator

1972-09-01 00:00:00

Singers 1972-73

1972-09-01 00:00:00

Spires 1972-73

1972-09-01 00:00:00

Zachary J. Pappadeas, '75

Accompanist

1973-09-01 00:00:00

Spires 1973-74

Villanova Singers History

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