About the Women's Musical Club
Dedicated to advancing classical music in our community
The Women’s Musical Club, formed in 1894, is the oldest continuously operating musical organization in Winnipeg. We offer an annual 5-concert series, six annual scholarships and the biennial WMC McLellan Competition for Solo Performance with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. Our intimate concert settings give performers the freedom to interact directly with audiences for a unique and ever-changing concert experience.
WMC is dedicated to advancing classical music in our community. We support emerging musicians of all identities through scholarships and performance opportunities, and present outstanding up-and-coming artists as well as performers of international renown. WMC is committed to exploring new musical experiences, all the while connecting and building community, and upholding its legendary tradition of hospitality.
The Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg was founded in 1894 by six women determined to bring classical music to the prairie frontier. They met in private homes, performing for each other, and often presenting papers on the life and work of a featured composer. Membership in the club increased, and by 1901, larger venues were needed, necessitating the rental of rooms in the National Trust Building, the YMCA, and the Royal Alexandra and Fort Garry hotels. By 1907, the WMC had grown to 430 members, with active members planning programs, performing, and providing educational opportunities. Significantly, the WMC was incorporated on March 24, 1911. Bylaws were written, and an insignia was designed. On April 26, 1933, WMC was granted a Certificate of Registration by the province of Manitoba.
Since those early days, the club has operated continuously, surviving world wars, pandemics and the Great Depression. WMC was the first musical organization to bring emerging artists to Winnipeg, some of whom were just surfacing at the time. Notable guests have included Sergei Rachmaninoff, Anton Kuerti, Teresa Stratas, Maureen Forrester, and Glenn Gould. More recently our stage has welcomed James Ehnes, Jasper Wood, Elliot Madore, and the Chooi Brothers. WMC’s long list of award winners includes names of international renown such as Tomson Highway, Keri-Lynn Wilson, and Tracy Dahl. In recent years the prizes have increased substantially, and WMC now offers 6 annual scholarships totalling $11,500.
In September 2005, we were delighted to announce the creation of the WMC McLellan Competition for Solo Performance with the WSO. The prize available for this competition is due to a generous bequest by a late member who attended concerts for several years. The competition is open to advanced Manitoba-educated musicians who are pursuing performance careers and gives the winners the opportunity to perform with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. The McLellan offers three prizes totalling $20,000, with a first prize of $10,000.
For a full report and a wonderful read, find our history book “With Every Note Played” written by Honorary Life Member, Dr. Kathryn Young.
Further pieces of our fascinating history can be found in our “Notes from the Past” blog.
BOARD MEMBERS 2023-24
Co-Presidents - Sandra Roberts/Sareli Deraj
Past President - Millie Hildebrand
Treasurer - Ingrid Pearce
Recording Secretary - Millie Hildebrand (interim)
Corresponding Secretary - Aija Svenne
Archives - Mary Lynn Duckworth
Fundraising - Carol Gamby
House/Hospitality - Ali Baldwin
Publicity/Publications - Millie Hildebrand
Recitals - Diane Kubas
Scholarships - Lynne Anderson
Special Events/130th Anniversary Gala - Carol Gamby, Diane Kubas
WMC McLellan Competition - Belle Meiklejohn
Members-at-Large - Kyle Briscoe, Zohreh Gervais, Nolan Kehler, Lucretia Ionescu
Honorary Solicitor - Jennifer Kubas
WMC Honorary Life Members - Pam Cooke, Carol Gamby, Janis Hanec, Virginia Heinrichs, Phyllis Ilavsky, Margaret Jeffries, Joanne Pearson, Wilma Woodmass, Kathryn Young