year was 1931 - the very depth of the Great Depression. Franklin
Roosevelt had just won re-election as Governor of New York, King
Alfonso had abdicated as King of Spain after 15 centuries of
rule by a monarchy; Great Britain closed its stock exchange and
went off the gold standard; Japan invaded China, while a severe
earthquake rocked Tokyo.
December 11, 1931, on beautiful and serene little Grosse Ile,
population less than 1,500, a small group of women met at the
home of Mrs. John Karmazin to formulate plans for a musical
club. The dates chosen were Fridays when there was no symphony
concert in Detroit.
first official meeting took place on January 15, 1932, with 56
charter members. Mrs. Karmazin was the first president of the
club to be called the "Friday Musicale".
original requirements for membership, as recorded in the January
1932 Board Meeting minutes, were the ability to sing or play a
musical instrument at a regular meeting, prepare a paper on a
musical topic, help to present current musical events, or be
willing to serve as patron of any public performance sponsored
by the Friday Musicale.
the club was instrumental in providing money for musical
instruments and music for the Grosse Ile schools. The club
presented two Gilbert and Sullivan operettas - Pinafore
in 1935 and the Mikado in 1937. It also sponsored a
music extension course, given by Professor Glenn McGreoch of the
University of Michigan.
later years, the Musicale sponsored transportation to the free
symphony concerts for children. During the WWII years, the club
opened each meeting by singing the national anthem.
first mention of a Grosse Ile Musicale sponsored scholarship
appeared in 1938 for a "deserving Island resident" -
presumably a high school student.
season the Grosse Ile Musicale will be 77 years old, and we are
working vigorously to bring it into the 21st century.