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The History of Grosse Ile Musicale 



The 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.

On 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.

The 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".

The 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.

Subsequently, 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.

In 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.

The first mention of a Grosse Ile Musicale sponsored scholarship appeared in 1938 for a "deserving Island resident" - presumably a high school student.

This season the Grosse Ile Musicale will be 77 years old, and we are working vigorously to bring it into the 21st century.

For additional information please call 734.675.1979





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