Canadian Society of Musicians
Canadian Society of Musicians. One of the earliest professional musical societies in Canada, it was founded in 1885 as the Ontario Music Teachers' Association. At its second annual convention, December 1886 in Toronto, the name Royal Canadian Society of Musicians was proposed, but the prefix 'royal' was not approved by the Ontario government. The aim of the society was to encourage musical art in all its forms, and to promote the higher interests of the profession, the interchange of ideas, and the cultivation of 'fraternal feeling' among its members. The annual conventions, all but two (London 1887, Hamilton 1890) in Toronto, featured concerts and discussions of essays read by members. Out of some of the conventions emerged resolutions on such issues as the licensing of teachers, the improvement of public-school music, and the standards of church singing.
In 1886 several compositions were submitted under noms de plume for a contest; those composers who obtained 'the marks necessary to pass' included A. E. Fisher, F.J. Hatton, Davenport Kerrison, and G.W. Strathy. The presidents of the society were Charles A. Sippi 1885-7, St John Hyttenrauch 1887-8, Edward Fisher 1889-90, R.S. Ambrose 1891-2, F.H. Torrington 1892-3, J.W.F. Harrison in 1893, J.E.P. Aldous in 1894, and Humfrey Anger 1895-6. Membership was between 150 and 200 and appears to have been made up primarily of southern Ontario musicians, though all Canadian music teachers were eligible. The society was described as prosperous by W.O. Forsyth in 1895, yet it seems to have come to an end within a year, perhaps because of rivalry between groups of musicians and music schools. This was reflected in the formation in 1894 of two new societies in Toronto, the Musical Art Club and the Toronto Clef Club, which had objectives similar to the Canadian Society of Musicians.