January 14, 1934
E. Harold Geer, professor of music and director of the choir, gave his 500th Dark Music recital on the organ in the Chapel. Professor Geer had begun these recitals shortly after joining the faculty in 1916.
On June 1, 1922, as the 200th Dark Music recital drew near, The Poughkeepsie Eagle-News described the tradition:
“Every Sunday night at Vassar College, Mr. Harold Geer, organist and member of the music department gives an organ recital in the chapel for those students and their guests who wish to attend. This recital is familiarly known as ‘dark music,’ as the only light is that of the lamp over the organ. Often the program is made up of selections which have been especially requested. The 195th recital took place last Sunday, and the 200th is coming soon. The college paper, ‘The Miscellany News,’ has an editorial on the subject, saying, ‘A golden wedding anniversary is rare, but a 200th anniversary organ recital is unique. We do not know whether Mr. Geer should be presented with a tin cup or a gold ring but we know that he has the appreciation of the whole college community….’”
In the late 1870s, college organist and music teacher Charlotte Finch ’72 initiated a similar tradition, playing the chapel organ every evening from 9:45 until “silent time,” the only light in the Chapel being the gas jets on each side of the organ.