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Hinckley Music Club
The Hinckley Music Club was established in 1963 by a leading private piano teacher in the town, Miss Marjorie King. For the first four years the Club’s activities comprised weekly meetings in an upstairs room at the Plough Inn in Leicester Road for illustrated talks on a musical theme, occasionally interspersed with live performances by local musicians. It was in this context that two young musicians, David Munrow and Christopher Hogwood, approached Marjorie King in 1965 to ask if they might be engaged for a performance of their repertoire of ‘old’ music. A fee of ten guineas was agreed, and an ‘Elizabethan Evening’ of Tudor music was presented in the Old Cottages, Lower Bond Street (now the Hinckley Museum). This was the start of the memorable association between these artists and the Club. The occasion led to several return visits by David Munrow with his Early Music Consort, and in 1969 David became the Club’s first President.
In 1967 Arts Council funding became available for music societies operating a subscription scheme, and so began the annual seasons of subscription concerts that continue to this day. Iona and Ian Brown, playing violin and piano, contributed the first such concert in September of that year in the BoroughCongregational Church (now the United Reformed Church). An illustrated talk by Gerald Moore closed that first season.
By 1970 the need for the Club to own its own piano was felt, and the Piano Fund was established. The Club’s reconditioned Steinway piano was delivered in March 1971. It cost £950. The National Federation loaned half of this. Artists such as Margaret Price (who had been introduced to the Club in a joint concertwith the BBC in 1968) and David Munrow, amongst others, gave their services free to raise funds, and contributions from individual supporters provided the remainder.
The piano was first used by the Club for a recital by Margaret Price and James Lockhart at the Grammar School (now John Cleveland College). It then went for a short while to the Borough Congregational Church, before going to its present home at Holy Trinity Church in June 1971.
After the death of David Munrow in 1976, his widow Gillian succeeded him as President. Another member of David’s Early Music Consort, the countertenor James Bowman, in turn followed Gillian. He relinquished the post in 1997 at the end of amemorial recital for Marjorie King, who had died the previous year.
Marjorie had a talent for picking promising young musicians for the Club’s programme many of whom went on to develop national and international careers. One such notable example has been the pianist Howard Shelley. On hearing of Marjorie’s death, he accepted the Club’s invitation to succeed James Bowman as President as a token of gratitude for the opportunities to perform that the Club had given him in his earlycareer. Since becoming President in 1998, he has honoured the Club with further performances, most recently playing Mozart piano concertos with a string quartet drawn from the London Mozart Players
Today the Club continues to flourish, providing six occasions a year for the people of Hinckley to enjoy live performances of classical music, and looks forward to doing so into the future.
History notes written by the late Mr Eric Bamberger
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