Musical Research

Another project on the table is a peaceful coup.

Specifically, I am in the process of becoming the new president of a 100+-year-old music club, called Musical Research Society.

I had plenty of interaction with the club when I was a child. My mother was a member, I performed at meetings, and received scholarships from them. And somehow, Musical Research Society just made its way into my heart.

Over the ensuing two decades since I graduated from high school, the club has seen a decline in membership. Like many social and service clubs around the country, membership is aging, and a new generation of members has not stepped in to participate. And of course, over the years I have had many ideas on how to re-energize the club. Ideas which I may have sent to their board of directors in long, rambling letters.

And now, somehow, beyond any reasonable explanation, I am living back in my hometown and am stepping up to see if I can actually bring about this club renaissance I’ve dreamed about for so long.

The first step has been assembling a new board, and I am very happy with the talented, brilliant people who have been willing to serve—including my mother, a past president of the club who has a skill for planning club meetings that are entertaining, heartfelt and very welcoming.

So now, as we start to work on the business of getting things ready for our new season that starts in the fall, my mind wanders pretty quickly to the myriad of possible projects to offer.

Some seem like clear winners, and not hugely intensive to carry out:

  • We could create groups that function like book clubs, but to study music. Each month a small group might meet to discuss a new composer, or a specific symphony. I might lead a group that discusses a new musical each month.
  • We could start a series of concerts for area music students to perform in rest homes. It would provide a great opportunity for service and to practice performing, as well as being a blessing for the residents.

Other ideas are more ambitious, and may take time and fundraising before they are possible:

  • I would like us to be able to set up an amateur orchestra for all of those people who played an instrument in high school but haven’t had an opportunity to use it since then. It would be a welcoming sort of performing troupe, more focused on enjoying the shared musical experience than on being polished. (My inspiration is the Scotland’s Really Terrible Orchestra, which is so popular that it has toured internationally.)

But one of the big questions is, what would people actually be interested in doing? What activities are so compelling that people in this city would be willing to make time to put a little more music in their lives? All of the lovely ideas in the world won’t matter if no one wants to come play.

What musical activities do you wish you had in your life?

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