Many clubs at Simmons initially centered around music. Some of the first student organizations to form were the Glee and Mandolin clubs in 1906 and Choir (later known as Chorale) in 1912. All three clubs were immensely popular, with the Glee Club requiring an auditioning process to limit itself to 70 members by 1926, the Choir maintaining a waitlist to keep membership to 80, and the Mandolin Club retaining about 20 members each year.
The Simmons Musical Association was formed during the 1912-1913 school year as an umbrella term for the Glee Club, Mandolin Club, and Choir. The purpose of the formation of the Association was to simplify the affairs of the organizations and to later arrange for a common treasury. By 1940 the Musical Association had 140 members and, while the club ended in 1943, musical performance remained an important part of the Simmons student experience.
Due to their commonalities and the formation of the Association, coordinated events were common between the three clubs, with the Mandolin Club jointly performing two concerts with the Glee Club in 1911 and 1912, and also assisting at the Senior Play and Christmas Party. Musical Association members performed at joint concerts with MIT and in a Christmas radio concert which was broadcast over WBZ.
Independently, the Glee Club performed multiple times per year, including at Commencement in May and in later years performing concerts during the school year with groups from Brown University, Northeastern, and MIT. Likewise, the Choir performed at services for Christmas, Easter, and Baccalaureate Sunday. Over time, the Mandolin Club allowed for other string instrumentalists to join the club before disbanding in 1928 and being replaced by the Instrumental Club.
Other musical clubs in the early years at Simmons included Orchestra, formed during the 1917-1918 school year in response to a large number of applicants to the Mandolin Club, the Bluettes (founded 1942), a sextet that sang in close harmony, performing everything from barbershop melodies to popular music, and the Simmonaires, a swing orchestra which performed between 1943 and 1948.
Musical clubs were not the only arts-based organizations to emerge during the first 100 years at Simmons. The Poetry Club began meeting in 1929 but did not become an official Simmons College club until 1931. Membership was restricted to those interested in creating verse and experimenting with patterns both old and new. The club was disbanded in 1937.
On the theatrical side, the Dramatic Club was founded in 1916, and celebrated all aspects of theater by allowing members to read plays and to act in, design costumes for, and stage productions.
Within three years of its founding, the Dramatic Club was the largest student group at Simmons, with an enrollment of 132 members. The club staged two productions a year: a two-act play and a three-act play.
In 1923, the Dramatic Club produced three one-act plays, one by each of the three lower classes. These productions quickly became an annual event—“Inter-Class Competitions"—that continued until 1960.
During the 1951-1952 school year, the Dramatic Club changed its name to "Sock and Buskin Society" as a result of an all-college naming contest.
Sock and Buskin carried on similar activities and traditions as the Dramatic Club, such as producing the Inter-Class Competitions, performing backstage work, selling tickets, and planning social activities.
The Modern Dance Club began during the 1946-1947 school year, and students were admitted on the basis of the talent and enthusiasm they displayed during tryouts.
The Club performed on Visitor's Day in the College backyard, participated in an all-college dance concert with five other college dance groups, and performed programs together with groups like the Glee Club and Sock and Buskin. They also collaborated with clubs from many of the nearby colleges.
The latter part of the 20th century saw Simmons students form arts organizations that grew as extensions of or replacements for previously established clubs such as acapella groups the Notables (founded 1980s) and the Sirens (founded 1989), the Simmons Theatrical Society (founded 1990), and the Dance Collective (founded 1980s).