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Notes from the Past: Finding an Audience

Nothing stimulates the desire to hunt through an archive for historical tidbits than an anniversary, and this year’s 130th Anniversary of the WMC is no exception. We are very fortunate that notes, minutes, newspaper clipping and photographs from our first 130 years have been preserved and deposited in the Manitoba Archives. These are a treasure trove of Winnipeg’s musical and social history and a very personal record of our club.

Formed in 1894 as a rather exclusive women’s club to give our six founding members opportunities to perform music together, early references to the club’s events appeared mainly in the social columns of local newspapers. But early 20th century Winnipeg had many talented musicians among its citizens and interest in the WMC grew, bringing increased membership numbers. To reflect these changes the Club incorporated in 1911 and its concerts began to be noted in the Arts and Music columns of the newspapers. At that time our first insignia was designed, an intertwining of the letters WMC in an Arts and Crafts motif that was admired at the time. This became our public symbol on concert programs and posters for sixty years.

By the 1970’s, newspapers and, to some extent radio, were still the main means of communicating with our potential audiences, but there was concern among WMC Board members about how to attract new young concert goers. Efforts were made to dispel the idea that the WMC was an exclusive club for women. A new logo was designed to give the club a more modern image, and was introduced to the Winnipeg music scene in a full-page article about the WMC in the Free Press’s new Saturday Magazine. We had arrived in the 70’s!

But time does not stand still and with the new millennium came the internet, social media and very different ways of communicating with potential new audiences. If you are reading this you will have found our revamped website, with our newest logo - complete with musical notes - that can be adapted for all forms of digital and print communications. The Covid pandemic hastened the need to make these changes but, with no concerts possible, efforts were wisely focused on ensuring that the WMC was 21st Century-ready. Please let us know how we are doing. Mary Lynn Duckworth WMC Chair of Archives November 2023

Former WMC Logo, 1970's New WMC Logo 2024

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