Excitement is rising at the WMC as we prepare for our 130th anniversary celebration this season. Did the six women who first began the WMC as a means of maintaining classical music in their lives ever imagine the longevity of the Club and the changing ways it would support the enjoyment of music and development of young musicians in Winnipeg? Our founders were women of talent and imagination, but we shall never know. We hope they would be pleased by what the WMC has accomplished and we are sure they would approve.
Marking our milestone anniversaries is important to the WMC. In honour of our 50th Anniversary, in 1945, the Scholarship Trust Fund was launched, and for the first-time scholarship winners were invited to perform in recital the following season. Our annual Scholarship Competition and concert are a direct result of this initiative, which has been built on over the ensuing years.
The WMC’s 100th birthday party was celebrated at the Fort Garry Hotel with tea and cakes served to the music of the Viveza Quintet “playing music from the salon, light classics, nostalgic 'palm court favourites', and toe tapping rhythms of South America." To commemorate this centennial, Valerie Dick wrote a small history booklet entitled Let Us Enjoy Music: A History of Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg, 1894-1994, and the Berythe Birse Special 100th Anniversary Prize of $1500 was awarded to pianist Darren Wong.
Our 110th anniversary was a fun change of pace presenting “Primadonna and comedienne Mary Lou Fallis with pianist and composer John Greer in a rousing and hilarious performance that brought the audience of 200 to its feet."
In 2015, for our 120th anniversary, we gathered in the Provencher Room of the Fort Garry Hotel for “Tea with James”, high tea and a concert by James Ehnes, the world-renowned, Brandon-born violinist. That year Kathryn Young, our then President, completed a second history of the Club from 1894 to 2014 entitled With Every Note Played, which has proved to be an invaluable WMC resource.
Anniversaries are meant to be celebrated with friends and 130 years is a milestone well worth celebrating. Do visit our website over the following months for news of the 130th Season celebration of the Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg “…where tradition embraces the future."
Mary Lynn Duckworth WMC Chair of Archives September 5, 2023 Reference: With Every Note Played; A History of the Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg, by Kathryn A. Young