Members of Tuesday Musicale, which was founded in 1911 by Mary Soule, have decided to disband because of dwindling membership and difficulty finding volunteers to spearhead programs.
Besides hosting recitals on the second Tuesday of every month for more than a century, the group donated more than $3,000 in scholarship money every year to students interested in pursuing musical endeavors.
“I'm very sad about it,” said longtime member Alice Akin. “I think it's very unfortunate, but nobody was willing to step up and take over the leadership roles — the scholarship job, the job of auditioning and awarding scholarships.”
Akin attributes the group's demise to societal changes. When the program launched in the early 1900s, most women did not hold jobs outside of the home and had more free time to devote to cultural connections.
“We had an older membership and no new members coming in,” Akin said. “Many members were well into their 80s. People were moving away and dying, and there was no impetus for new blood.”
A century ago, Tuesday Musicale members would take turns hosting the group in their homes. They would serve tea and listen to a recital. In more recent years, the programs moved to the Grand Haven Community Center and a local church.
In its heyday, Tuesday Musicale boasted close to 100 members. Most recently, the group's membership dwindled to less than 50.
Tuesday Musicale historian Carolyn Dean said 34 different women served as president of the group over the years. Soule was the first.
“She had a vision,” Dean said. “She wanted to encourage music for class credit in public schools, and that goal was achieved.”
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