Celebrates 75th Anniversary
In September the Carthage Music Club will celebrate its 75th anniversary. The public is invited to attend a “Celebration Event” at 2:00pm on Sunday, September 30, at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Charles Reid, son of Music Club member Carolyn Reid, will perform at the event. “He is a wonderful tenor,” states Nancy Langford, “who has performed with the Metropolitan Opera and has recently returned from performing at Theater Hagen in Germany.”
The club began in 1937 with 24 members with the purpose “to stimulate individual effort and elevate the musical standard of the community.” In its first year, the local club joined the Texas Federation of Music Clubs and quickly became known as “one of the finest clubs in Texas.”
The first meeting was held in the home of Mrs. Sid Baker Turner. Held on Sunday afternoons, the meetings were formal affairs with the ladies attending in their hats and heels. Sally Moore, an active member of the club for 65 years recalled, “It was our life to go to music club every month, just part of our experience. I don’t remember anything special other than how nervous I’d get when it was my turn to perform.” At every meeting, the “Collect,” or mission statement, is read. “…our purpose is to bring the spiritualizing force of music to the inner life of our nation.” Programs at the monthly meetings evolve around different genres of music. “This year’s programs will be dedicated to the decades of music beginning with the ‘40’s in October and culminating with the ‘90’s in the spring,” said Club President Sandra Chamness. “In May we celebrate National Music Week by performing at the banks, nursing homes, and various places to try to get music out there as much as we can.” Each year the club holds concerts for the public to raise money for a scholarship to be given to a music major from Panola County. Funds have also been used to purchase pianos for the Chamber of Commerce, Panola College and the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.
Becky Gullette recalls her first experiences with the club, “Nancy Langford and I joined in the ‘70’s, and that’s about the time the ladies started ‘loosening up’ a little and became less formal…not so prim and proper. I remember Orita Morrison was the first one to wear pants. I was grateful because by the time I had taught all day long, I didn’t want to put on heels to attend a meeting! Every March we celebrate Texas music, and it had always been a more classical style, but we got them to do a little country music, Willie Nelson style. Julia Davis and Lois Long couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, but they could sing Willie Nelson!” Longtime member Elizabeth Morris always enjoyed the association with the people. “Some of the light-hearted music was just as fun to me as the more serious music, because I love all of it.” Nancy Langford recalled a program given by Sally Moore’s mother, Claudia Davidson, “I still remember a Christmas program she gave because it was such a touching program. I’m glad I got to know people like that that I wouldn’t have known without being in the Music Club.”
The club has recently accepted men as members, and membership is limited to 35 people. To become a member requires a love of music and sponsorship by a current member. “We’re not all professional musicians,” stated Gullette. “We have the cookie cutters, the organizers and the hack musicians as well. Our own personal pleasure and personal enrichment is great, but what we’re able to do for the community is what motivates us.”