Programs: Music & Drama
Music and drama were essential to fellowship, education, and mutual enjoyment within the YWCA. Singing was, of course, central to religious worship but secular song also had a powerful place in fostering common bonds among participants. The existence of numerous YWCA song books -- nearly one for every club, camp, or branch of the organization -- testifies to both singing's popularity and to the power of song to bind groups together.
Singing and performance also had an important didactic role for the YWCA, and songs often carried important religious or even political messages. "Break down barriers, change our thoughts, Help widen the reach of love," went the words to one Girl Reserves tune. Light-hearted "camp songs" or "humor songs" also contained less-than-subtle messages about the world, like: "Never make love in a buggy, for horses carry tails." Skits, pageants, and theatricals played a similar role, encouraging girls to step out of their everyday roles and imagine the world beyond their own home circle. The use of music during YWCA programs declined by the 1950s and 60s. One former board member noted, "I wept when group singing faded away."