Club News

October 24, 2023

The Farmington Musicale’s Many Accomplishments
By Anne Greenstein, Club Historian

In December, 1965, Irene Winnie, held a tea in her home for a group of ladies to form The
Farmington Musicale. The charter was received from the National Federation of Music Clubs and the first regular meeting was held in January, 1966. Officers were chosen and programs were initiated for our club to bring “music to the community.” Our club continued until June, 2023 when our members decided to dissolve The Farmington Musicale.

When our club first began, Farmington Township did not offer any scholarship programs for
young music students. We wanted to help musical youth so on August 19, 1967, we had our first scholarship fundraiser in a member’s garage. By 1968, we had our first scholarship competition. This was our community-wide student musicians’ competition; Awards for Musical Excellence Competition. This began our main scholarship program. Although the awards were quite small when we first began, the response from the students and their parents was very enthusiastic and we were encouraged to continue having the competition. Music students eligible to compete were in the 7 th -12 th grades. The student must either live in the Farmington Community or attend school in our community. Children of Farmington Musicale members were also eligible to compete. (Judges of the contest could not have a student competing.) Since our first competition cash prizes were awarded annually for students. Contestants were divided into different musical categories; piano, voice, and other instruments, as well as grade level; 7-8. 9-10, 11-12. For many years we offered a string category as we had many band and orchestra students competing. The first place winners would perform at a Winners Recital. The competition continued from 1968-2021. The last competition and recital were “on line,” due to the pandemic. In 2022, we
had very few contestants so we cancelled the competition and rescheduled it for the following year hoping we would get more contestants. Unfortunately, only six students applied; one applied in two musical categories. We decided to give an honorarium to each of the contestants for their effort. From 1968-2023, our club awarded $107,825 in prize money to students. Every year our members worked hard to raise money to support the competition. After each recital, our Social Committee would make a lovely reception with fruit, cookies, and punch in honor of our winners. At times, the mayors of either Farmington or Farmington Hills or school board members would hear the recital and congratulate the winners. Many of our winners later established careers in music.

In 2007 our club formed a new scholarship program to benefit the students of our club’s music teachers. We offered these students, whose families needed help to attend a local musical workshop during the summer, a scholarship for the workshop. For our scholarship students attending a local workshop such as Schoolcraft College Piano Camp, Adventures in Chamber Music (strings), or Michigan Opera Theatre’s Gilbert & Sullivan Workshop, we paid full tuition. If the student was attending a residential program like Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Farmington High School Band Camp, or Interlochen Summer Camp; the student would receive a tuition stipend. During the pandemic when camps were closed, we gave a student a stipend towards buying a professional clarinet. From 2007-2023 we awarded 39 scholarships; $12,480 was the total money spent for the Summer Workshop Program. The Musicale was fortunate to get financial assistance from local businesses to provide scholarship money. Park West Gallery was particularly helpful and often assisted us with 1/3 to 1/2 of the budget for the year’s Summer Scholarship Fund.

When we dissolved our club, $4000 was divided among our two high school’s Band and
Orchestra Boosters to be used for student scholarships for private lessons or for clinicians who will work with the bands and orchestras at Farmington High School and North Farmington High School.

The total scholarship money from Awards Competition, Summer Workshops, Club Closing Money, and Miscellaneous recorded scholarship money ($500) of which we have a record is: $125,270.

In addition to scholarship assistance, we had other outreach to the musical youth of the
community. From 1971-1977 there was a junior club, the Glockenspiels, for high school
students. The adult advisors hosted meetings in their homes for the students. The junior club awarded its own scholarships and the Glockenspiels won Awards of Merit from the MFMC in 1971-1972 and 1975-1976. In the late 1960s until the early 1980s we had a Music in the Schools program. During the early years of our club, there were no string programs in the public schools. Musicale members helped organize orchestra programs and club members also helped organize the Farmington Honors Band. Some of our singers went into the schools dressed in costumes and performed arias with piano accompaniment to introduce young people to the opera.

Through the years, The Farmington Musicale had members who were active in the MFMC as well as the SE District. Two of our members served as presidents of the MFMC. One member served as State Chairman for American Music. One member served as State Chairman for the Junior Music Festivals for the SE Division. Two members served during different years as State Chairman for National Music Week. One member served as Gold Cup Chairman for several years. One member served as Corresponding Secretary and 3 rd Vice President. Another member served as the MFMC’s chaplain. In our club’s scrapbooks are many certificates for excellence in our programs. We were also affiliated with the Farmington Community Arts Council. The major project of the Arts Council was to have an annual Arts Festival. We participated in this project by having a booth decorated with newspaper articles or pictures of our programs including our Winners Recital. We offered volunteer students and adults performing music during the festivals.

Disappointed with the pianos we were using while offering our free programs to the library and the Longacre House, we started raising money for a better piano at the library. In 1980, after years of fundraising, we donated a $9,000 6-foot grand Yamaha piano to the library. We also helped purchase a piano for the Longacre House which was used there for years. In 2005, our club donated a 1/8 Nagoya Suzuki violin outfit which was used by scholarship students at Costick Center’s music education program.

Year after year, our club gave monthly performances at the library, music companies with pianos. or local churches which were free to the public. We had a Women’s Chorus which performed in these programs and was featured at our Christmas programs. Beginning in the late 1960s through the early 1990s we sent small ensembles to visit people who were shut-ins. In those days ensembles from our chorus would have sing-alongs at hospitals and nursing homes. Our most important outreach was our monthly visits to Northville State Hospital as our contribution to the NFMC’s Music in the Hospitals program. The patients appreciated hearing live music and it brightened their days. Several of our members were honored by the MFMC for their outreach to hospitals and community service. As the years past into the second decade of the 21 Century, we still gave free musical programs to senior groups at Costick Center, a nursing home in Dearborn, and a local church for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. In addition, one of our pianists continued to give recitals for the elderly. Through the years we received tributes and plaques by our city officials and by the State of Michigan recognizing our club’s accomplishments to the
cultural life of our community.