History of the CLASSICAL MUSIC CLUB
Founded in 1985 by local music teacher, Lois Madden as a platform for amateur adult musicians, music teachers and their students, the Club has been enjoyed by many, seeking to hone their skills in a friendly, supportive atmosphere. At first it was mainly a ‘players’ club’, but gradually it attracted a loyal audience. Early venues were the freezing Bowral Memorial Hall with its ancient Bechstein piano, the ballroom of an unrestored Annesley, and the orchestra room at Frensham. Later there was the Gib Gate school hall, the Mittagong Playhouse and in recent times, Welby Community Hall.
Some of the early performers included pianists Marge Shipton and Julie Eotvos (now a professional performer and accompanist), and composer Ken Ford, who played his compositions. One of the earliest players was Alex Ralph (violin/viola), who was still a regular contributor until recently. Other original members and players include Chris Donaldson (clarinet/piano), Elizabeth Dalton (French Horn), Joy Mc Ewan (piano), Christine Tilley (piano & voice) and Rhonda Langford (piano). Past Presidents include Robin Langley, Chris Donaldson and Mark Williamson.
During its long history, the Club has met 4 times a year and has charged a very minimal membership fee, which covered running costs, including a newsletter posted/emailed to its members.
In recent years, the Club was under the umbrella of the St Jude’s Music Association. The venue changed from the Playhouse to Welby Community Hall. In 2014 the committee added a new focus to the club by introducing the Student Grant Scheme, which was to raise money for deserving music students in the Shire, to assist them with the cost of tuition in their chosen instrument. The Club members were invited to become ‘donor-members’, and 2 Fundraising concerts were held, which involved classical music lovers and performers from the wider community. The outcome was a great success, and 2 promising students were chosen by an independent 3-person panel. Each was awarded $1,000 towards tuition in 2015. The Grant project was continued in 2016 and 2017 with a grand total of 8 recipients. 2018 will be the 4th year of the Grant and a Fundraiser is planned for July 2 2017 at 2.30pm at St Judes Bowral. It will feature The Berrima Singers (dir. Christine Tilley) and selected instrumentalists in a program of mainly Baroque choral and instrumental works. A similar concert took place in 2016 with overwhelming success!!
2015 to the present : A NEW DIRECTION
Owing to the dwindling number of people willing to perform on a regular basis, the executive decided to abolish ‘membership’ as such. Instead, a gold coin donation formed the entry to Club meetings. These were held at Chris Tilley’s home studio. The affiliation with St Judes was no longer necessary for insurance.
The original philosophy or concept of the Club still stands firm. It remains a predominantly ‘players’ club with an interested / supportive audience still included. However rather than being only open to adults- it now welcomes younger players over 14yrs as well.
Yvonne D’Arcy (President) & Committee