Princeton University's oldest a cappella group (and one of the oldest such collegiate groups in the country), the Nassoons have over 70 years of music-making tradition. Below, find some of the history and lore of the group through the decades and see why generations of men are proud to call the Nassoons their own brotherhood of Songs, Fun, and Camaraderie.
Formed as a close-harmony a cappella alternative to the University Glee Club in the late 1930's, their early days were spent practicing in the basement of Princeton's Murray-Dodge Hall. The yet-unnamed group mainly rehearsed for and performed small on-campus shows. However, the turning point came on a cool autumn New Haven evening in 1941.
Seven men, as the story goes, stood before the sold-out Princeton-Yale Weekend Glee Club Concert audience. Having obtained permission from the Glee Club director, they launched into a short set in the middle of the Princeton program. The dishearteningly lukewarm reaction of the audience began to take its toll on the ensemble who, in desperation, pulled out an arrangement which the Glee Club director had explicitly prohibited them from using.
Its racy lyrics and bawdy five-part harmonies, he feared, would offend the tender sensibilities of the stodgy New Haven audience. That song was Perfidia, and as the last robust chords echoed throughout the hall the audience rose to its feet in a chorus of applause, demanding an encore. The seven Princetonians had no choice but to launch into Perfidia for a second time - and the Nassoons were born.
History by the Decade
The Nassoons have too much history to fit in a webpage, but you can still get your fill by reading the decade-by-decade chapters of Nassoon history, written by Nassoons from that decade. From the Founding Forties to the more modern days, browse the annals of 'Soon history at your leisure.