Musical Art Club

Musical Art Club (Saskatoon). Founded in 1924 by Lyell Gustin to introduce to the public Saskatoon's young male music students. Among the other leading teachers whose students benefited were Florence Hanson (violin), Helen Davies Sherry (voice), and Frederick Silvester (organ).

Musical Art Club

Musical Art Club (Saskatoon). Founded in 1924 by Lyell Gustin to introduce to the public Saskatoon's young male music students. Among the other leading teachers whose students benefited were Florence Hanson (violin), Helen Davies Sherry (voice), and Frederick Silvester (organ). Reginald Bedford and Silvester were among those who performed on the first program, 24 Sep 1924, which included violin, piano, and vocal selections. Among other charter members were Reuben Lowe, Brian King, Harry Ryan, Erdmann Penner, Frank Philion, and Fred McEowan, who was the club's first president. In 1991 McEowan, Cameron Wensley, and Ekhart Thode remained the three surviving charter members. Percy Grainger, one of the club's first performing guest artists, was honorary president until his death in 1961. He was succeeded in that office by Gustin. Membership was limited to about 45. A number of junior branches were formed in 1930, and women were admitted to the club in 1931. Besides monthly presentations by students, concerts of both emerging and established artists (Garth Beckett, Neil Chotem, Lynnwood Farnam, Boyd McDonald, Margaret Matzenauer, Thelma O'Neill, Marguerita Spencer, Toscha Seidel, and others), took place. The club has sponsored a Beethoven centennial (1927), a Schubert centennial (1928), a Bach festival (1931), a Haydn bicentennial (1932), and observed numerous other anniversaries - of composers, compositions (the centennial of Brahms' First Symphony), noted performers (eg, Ysaÿe, Hubay), and luminaries in other arts (Shakespeare, Goethe). It also has offered performances of the operas Hansel and Gretel (1931), Madama Butterfly (1932), Le Coq d'or (1940), and Carmen (1942), of Bach's Coffee Cantata (1938) and Peasant Cantata (1939), and of Debussy's The Blessed Damozel (1941). The young people's clubs organized by Bedford in 1930 were reorganized by Dorothy Adams in 1946. After 1941 recitals were given entirely by Saskatoon artists, among them Andrew Dawes, Malcolm Lowe, and club members. The club gave its 400th program 5 Dec 1976, and its 500th 4 Nov 1990. In 1991 it continued to hold meetings and offered the Lyell Gustin, Dorothy Overholt, Eby/Bedford, and Neil Chotem scholarships. Walter Thiessen succeeded Gustin as director in 1980. Among honorary life members in 1991 were Garth Beckett, Alma Brock-Smith, Boyd McDonald, Thelma O'Neill, and Douglas Voice.


Further Reading

  • Thiessen, Walter. 'Musical Art Club 65th anniversary speech,' unpublished paper, Saskatoon 1989