Halifax Ladies' Musical Club
Halifax Ladies' Musical Club. Founded in Halifax in 1905 and incorporated in 1909. It was formed by Mrs Charles Archibald (first president), Elizabeth and Margaret White, and Kate Mackintosh. According to the 1906 constitution, 'the objective of the club shall be a more perfect knowledge and understanding of vocal and instrumental music and of musical literature'. As a member of the (US) National Federation of Music Clubs, the Halifax club followed a preordained study program - eg, 'Christmas as illustrated by Bach,' 'An evening with women composers,' and 'The child in music'. However, the club withdrew from the federation in 1913 and instituted programming more directly suited to the interests of its membership. A meeting usually consisted of a lecture or a paper by a member, with musical examples performed by other members. At first meetings were held weekly in private homes; later they were held monthly from October to May in public locations, including the Hotel Nova Scotian, 1933-46 (when the membership exceeded 300); and the Dalhousie University gymnasium, 1946-ca 1971 (when membership reached a peak of 700, including students). In the 1970s the club began holding its meetings in the Elsie MacAloney Room of the Dalhousie Arts Centre.
In the early years of the club members were encouraged to compose and prizes were offered. In 1906 a choir was formed under the direction of Frances (Daisy) Foster, an orchestra under Agnes Crawford. About 1913 there were opera performances, and in 1914 two concerts were organized at the Orpheus Theatre for the Belgian relief fund. In 1914 the club began promoting music in the public schools, giving scholarships, donating books, giving monthly concerts (performed by its members), and using its influence to have specialists hired by the school board. From 1951 to 1955 the club sponsored Tops 'n Pops, a junior club designed to 'present music approved by teenagers to young Halifax'. The junior club organized performances by its members in programs combining classical and pop music, and provided $50 scholarships annually for two Kiwanis Festival winners, a boy and a girl. The senior club for many years has donated awards to the Kiwanis festival, the Maritime Conservatory of Music, and the County Music Festival; it helped to launch the career of Portia White.
In the course of the 1980s, the Halifax Ladies Musical Club changed its focus from the provision of musical education and enjoyment for its members to that of providing opportunities and assistance to young musicians in universities, conservatories and schools, and also to those studying with private teachers. Beyond this, the club has arranged concerts by members of the Theatre Dept of Dalhousie University as well as opportunities for young people to perform in public. Five monthly concerts feature choirs from the city schools and individual performers. In 1990 the club established the office of program director.Brenda Wilson,a professional music teacher, was appointed.
The club continued in 1990 its annual financial support for the Kiwanis Music Festival and gives scholarships to outstanding young musicians, and other assistance to deserving students whose names are put forward by the Maritime Conservatory of Music, the Dalhousie Music Dept, or others who are involved or interested in music education. The club established in the 1989-90 season a talent grant to which voluntary donations may be made to augment the funds put into it by the club itself. A board receives and screens applications for the grant. At the final concert of the 1989-90 season the first winner of the talent grant performed for the club members. The Halifax Ladies' Music Club has thus maintained and even increased its generous contribution to the regional music scene.