Claudia L’Engle Adams, Founder of Friday Musicale
“The idea for a musical club originated with Mrs. Claudia L’Engle Adams, wife of Charles E. Adams. Mrs. Adams was a musician of great ability and rare musical feeling, who had fine musicale training at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Baltimore, Maryland (est. 1868). She was not only a pianist with fine technique and much originality of interpretation, but possessed a fine voice and sang with much dramatic feeling and power.”
—from History of the Ladies’ Friday Musicale , by Isabelle S. Perry, Secretary (c. 1906)
Claudia, first child of John Claudius L’Engle and Sarah Cornelia Daniel, was born June 22, 1865. She had two brothers and two sisters, one of whom was Miss Mary Evalyn L’Engle (1875-1948). She married Mr. Adams on September 25, 1889. She gathered her musical friends in her home in January 1890 and became the first president. At noon February 10, 1895 she died at her home on East Monroe Street. Her obituary relates that she was a woman of many admirable traits, an earnest church worker, and loved by all who knew her. READ MORE
*Mrs. Claudia L’Engle Adams 1893-1895
*Mrs. Ruth Greenleaf Douglas 1895-1899
*Mrs. Arthur F. Perry 1899-1900
*Mrs. Montgomery Corse 1900-1901
*Mrs. John G. Christopher 1901
*Mrs. James C. Darby 1901-1903
*Mrs. Thomas Hilditch 1903-1904
*Mrs. Ruth Greenleaf Douglas 1904-1906
*Mrs. James C. Darby 1906
*Mrs. Charles Davies 1906-1908
*Mrs. Montgomery Corse 1908-1909
*Mrs. Ruth Greenleaf Douglas 1909-1910
*Mrs. James C. Darby 1910-1911
*Mrs. Jay Harvey Durkee 1911
*Mrs. Matilda Fleming O’Donald 1911-1913
*Mrs. Ruth Greenleaf Douglas 1913-1914
*Mrs. Richard P. Marks 1914-1915
*Mrs. Jay Harvey Durkee 1915-1916
*Mrs. James McNeill Wright 1916-1918
*Mrs. Lina Gerow Bond 1918-1920
*Mrs. James Y. Wilson 1920-1922
*Mrs. Abel Amherst Coult 1922-1924
*Mrs. Elmer W. Savage 1924-1926
*Mrs. Lawrence Adams 1926-1928
*Mrs. Robert Lee Hutchinson 1928-1929
*Mrs. S. Bryan Jennings 1929-1931
*Mrs. George J. Avent 1931-1933
*Mrs. Frank W. Brown, Jr. 1933-1935
*Mrs. Richard G. Skinner 1935-1937
*Miss Genevieve McMurray 1937-1938
*Mrs. E. Screven Bond 1938-1940
*Mrs. Walter F. Rogers (Mary Harrell) 1940-1941
*Mrs. William Arthur Gatlin, Sr. 1941-1942
*Mrs. Francis M. Holt 1942-1943
*Mrs. George W. Kennedy 1943-1944
*Mrs. Donald P. Black 1944-1946
*Mrs. A. Lee Powell 1946-1948
*Mrs. Peyton J. Watson 1948-1949
*Mrs. S. H. Berg 1949-1951
*Mrs. John W. Donahoo (Jeanne) 1951-1952
*Mrs. William J. Hildebrandt 1952-1954
*Mrs. Jacob F. Bryan, III 1954-1955
*Mrs. J. Henson Markham (Wilma) 1955-1957
Mrs. Raymond H. King (Eleanor) 1957-1959
*Mrs. Charles M. Wells, Jr. (Leslie) 1959-1961
*Mrs. F. MacCarthy Perry (Inez) 1961-1962
*Mrs. Louis E. Joos (Genevieve) 1962-1964
*Mrs. Gordon P. Blitch (Madge) 1964-1965
*Mrs. Ivan H. Smith 1965-1967
*Mrs. Lloyd T. Thurmond 1967-1968
*Mrs. Frank P. Maxwell (Dorothy) 1968-1970
*Mrs. William E. Elsberry (Georgia) 1970-1972
*Mrs. John J. Powell (Sarah) 1972-1974
*Mrs. Gordon V. Brown (Pat) 1974-1976
*Mrs. Harold R. Clark (Vivian) 1976-1978
*Mrs. R. Walker Barfield (Madoline) 1978-1980
*Mrs. J. Beatty Williams, Jr. (Marian) 1980-1981
*Mrs. Fred M. Cox (Julanne) 1981-1982
Mrs. Henry Cornely, Jr. (Peggy) 1982-1984
*Mrs. McIver M. Brooks (Jean) 1984-1986
Mrs. Michael Fisher (Dr. Linda) 1986-1987
Mrs. Walter C. Beattie (May) 1987-1989
Mrs. Robert McDowell (Mike) 1989-1991
Mrs. John W. Snow (Patricia) 1991-1993
Mrs. Joel Fleet (Margaret) 1993-1995
Mrs. Robert McDowell (Mike) 1995-1998
Mrs. Sam I. Smith, Jr. (Rosa) 1998-2001
Mrs. Arthur T. Boone (Doris) 2001-2002
Mrs. Luther B. Keay (Christine) 2002-2004
Mrs. William J. Adams (Anne) 2004-2006
Mrs. John F. Dunnington (Jennie) 2006-2008
Ms. Christine Armington Clark 2008-2010
Mr. Henson Markham 2010-2012
Ms. Pam Franklin 2012-2016
Mr. Goetz Neubauer from 2016
Mr. Michael R. Currie 2016-2021
Mr. William Roelke – Current
1890-1892 In January, Mrs. Charles S. Adams (Claudia L’Engle) gathered eleven musical friends in her home for weekly afternoons of music study. In 1892, an organizational meeting was launched for music lovers that met in the Public Library. These friends continued to meet in their homes through 1893. The group then moved to the music studio of Professor F.W. Chase, organist at St. John’s Church who delivered a first lecture.
1893-1895 These formal gatherings turned into a formal organization with the drafting of bylaws and election of officers. First President was Mrs. Charles S. Adams (Claudia L’Engle Adams,); Miss Elizabeth Gale, vice president; Mrs. Arthur F. Perry, secretary and treasurer. The group was named “Ladies’ Friday Musicale” with the goal “first – to advance the interests and promote the culture of musical art in Jacksonville; second – the mutual improvement of its members.” Three members signed for a prospective member, who performed one work before being voted for membership. A twenty-five cent fine was levied for non-performance. Annual dues were $2.00. Sadly, the founder died while still in office before her 30th birthday in 1895.
1895-1900 John Douglas was elected to complete the first president’s term. Chorus work was started and the first public entertainment was presented in April 1896 in the Park Opera House for the benefit of the local hospital (St. Luke’s on Palmetto Street). In 1898, we joined the National Federation of Musical Clubs and the National Music Teachers Association, sending delegates to the convention in St. Louis. The first oratorio was presented in April 1899, assisted by the all-male Apollo Choral Club.
1901-1904 The closing public concert was given on May 2nd in Prof. Battle’s studio in the Board of Trade Auditorium. However, the last meeting on May 3rd never took place because of the disastrous fire that literally burned the heart of downtown Jacksonville. After the Great Fire, fourteen members answered roll call in November at Prof. Battle’s new studio in the Masonic Temple building. A Solano Grove neighbor of Delius back in 1884, Madame Jutta Bell-Ranske, returned from Europe to teach, and was engaged as the chorus director in 1903-1905.
1905 The legacy of inviting artists of world-renown began in Jacksonville through local efforts to bring famed singer, Nellie Melba on March 11, 1905.
1906 On the south side of the St. Johns River, concerts were performed in the skating rink that had been converted into a concert hall with a performance by Mme. Lillian Nordica. The first concert grand piano was purchased from Steinway for $200.
1907 Operatic artists were engaged with Emma Eames and Marcella Sembrich and an American baritone, David Bispham. Ewald Abel, director of the Windsor Hotel Orchestra developed a chorus and conducted city-wide Saengerfest with great success.
1909-1910 The Chorus assisted the Jacksonville Chorale Society in the second of three annual Spring Music Festivals held in the Duval Theatre with conductor Walter Damrosch and the New York Symphony Orchestra. The convention of the Florida Music Teachers’ Association was held concurrently with the Festival at the School of Musical Art, 112 E. Bay Street (Cable Hall).
1910-1911 The Ladies’ Friday Musicale moved this year into the Woman’s Club located at 18 E. Duval St. There was an interest in children’s work that inspired Children’s Days with programs for and by children. A 12 year old American piano prodigy, Beryl Rubinstein performed. In April 1911 the Ladies’ Friday Musicale Chorus of 40 members joined together with the Jacksonville Choral Society (150 voices) in their sponsorship of the third and final Spring Music Festival featuring the New York Symphony Orchestra with conductor Walter Damrosch. The convention of the Florida Music Teachers Association was held concurrently with the Festival.
1911-1913 Mrs. Edward McDonald was elected President with membership reaching 170. Conversations began concerning the possibility of having our own building to replace the frequent moves.
1913-1914 Concerts included American soprano, Alma Gluck with pianist Harold Bauer brought jointly with the Association of City Salesmen. Contributions were given to the Boys’ Band for purchase of instruments.
1914-1915 The Twenty-fifth season of the Ladies’ Friday Musicale was described in a press article as the “Musical Heart of the City.” A Junior Department was started, the efforts of President Mrs. Richard Marks and Miss Margaret Haas, music teacher.
1915-1916 Victor Talking Machines were purchased for use in public school music classes. Mrs. Harvey Durkee was President. Mrs. Arthur Perry wrote a brief history of the club for the Jacksonville Carnegie Library file. Study classes were inaugurated preceding meetings with weekly chorus rehearsals.
1916-1918 Student members were listed in the Yearbook for the first time after student memberships were added to the bylaws. Celebrated Polish pianist, Ignace Jan Paderewski performed in the Armory in 1917. Because of the War, patriotic activities were sponsored with the purchase of Liberty Bonds, entertainment for military at Camp Johnston (the Naval Air Station) and benefit concerts for the Red Cross.
1918-1920 Because of the seriousness of the influenza epidemic and wartime conditions the season did not open in November. After the Armistice was signed, work resumed with Mrs. E. Screven Bond as president. Opening Concert in 1919 included Anna Case, American operatic soprano and Josef Hofmann, the pianist in separate concerts in 1920.
1920-1922 The Artists Committee presented Rosa Ponselle in concert. Violinist George Orner gave a recital and then began organizing an orchestra of gifted students.
1922-1924 The emergence of our present-day Friday Musicale took place this year with a change in the by-laws that dropped “Ladies” from the title in recognition of the contribution of men to our organization. Celebrations took place with a luncheon honoring our charter members and past presidents. The scope of activities was enlarged at the same time to include city and state- level activities and goals. Meetings were held at the Women’s Club.
1924-1926 Another innovation, the Friday Musicale Octet was organized by the President, Mrs. Marion Bowles. Organ memorial recitals in churches were also initiated for deceased members. The entire Junior Department – orchestra, chorus and leaders — participated in the annual convention of music clubs and earned many prizes.
1926-1928 The first Opera Week in Jacksonville was another innovation for Friday Musicale with the cooperation of the American Legion. Participants were also the Friday Musicale Orchestra with George Orner, conductor. The first history of Friday Musicale was also launched. A memorial concert was performed by organist Miss Genevieve McMurray for Mrs. Joseph H. Durkee, a gracious hostess for many “elegant after-concert parties” in her home on Ocean Street. The Junior Orchestra was awarded First Prize again in Palm Beach.
1928-1929 The Opening Reception was held in the new Woman’s Club on Riverside Avenue that included Handel’s “Messiah” performed with eighty trained singers to the largest audience in club history. Friday Musicale musicians gave concerts in many locations including Keystone Heights Chautauqua and over radio station WJAX at the Florida State Fair. The Philanthropic Department aided students with lessons, instruments and scholarships to summer camps in Asheville, North Carolina and Interlochen, Michigan.
1929-1931 In May of 1919 a special meeting was called by our President, Mrs. S. Bryan Jennings, to consider plans for a permanent home for Friday Musicale. Concordia Hall, a gymnasium at 645 Oak St. was purchased for $5,500 on June 3, 1929. An opening concert was held in November after intense remodeling and construction. A Mason & Hamlin piano was purchased. The Junior Orchestra became a senior Friday Musicale Symphony Orchestra in 1929, with fifty amateur and fifteen professional musicians under conductor George Orner.
1931-1933 Fund raising efforts to raise money for the building fund included a Bridge Tournament and Valentine card party. Metropolitan Opera star Eleanor LaMance, formerly of Jacksonville gave a concert in our auditorium. A third season of Pop Concerts was co-sponsored with the Junior League.
1933-1935 A spectacular “Gypsy Festival” was held at Epping Forest, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred I DuPont, featuring the Friday Musicale Symphony Orchestra, the Junior League Glee Club and the Gypsy Dancers. The movie “One Night of Love” with Grace Moore was sponsored for four days at the Florida Theatre. A fire in the Friday Musicale building caused damage to the orchestral music library, two pianos and the auditorium itself.
1935-1937 Because of economic conditions during the Great Depression years, the Friday Musicale Symphony Orchestra merged with the Florida State Symphony of the Works Project Administration (WPA) assisted by the WPA (Works Project Administration.). The City Recreation Department and the Friday Musicale co-sponsored a WPA Orchestra in the 9th annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah.”
1937-1938 Fritz Kreisler, noted violist gave a concert in the Armory under the auspices of Friday Musicale with proceeds shared with Hope Haven Hospital Fund. The Philanthropic Department presented a recital that featured three of the early scholarship students, including baritone Mac Morgan, cellist Henry Cornely, Jr., and pianist Ben Jones. Thirty feet of land was purchased on the north side of Friday Musicale.
1938-1940 Friday Musicale sponsored a concert by Sergei Rachmaninoff which took place in the Armory. Music study and book reviews with related musical programs were held in the homes of members, including the home of Mrs. T. M. Kirbo, who later bequeathed her piano to Friday Musicale.
1939-1940 Our Fiftieth Anniversary Year was celebrated with Golden Jubilee events that included the Friday Musicale Chorus in concert directed by Estella Fretwell with several charter members present. Mrs. Henry L. Richmond shared her interest in music and Florida history by arranging a program for the “Recording Hour” in March 1940. Her recordings of music of Frederick Delius were played along with piano illustrations by W. James Crosland and a lecture about Delius by Dr. Carita Doggett Corse. In May, the Little Theatre of Jacksonville presented a one-act play about Chopin at Epping Forest which was later repeated at Friday Musicale for the benefit of the Polish Relief following Paderewski’s appeal on radio.
1941-1942 The first public concert performance in memory of Frederic Delius, who lived and composed music in the Mandarin area for several years, took place with a concert by the Rollins College Delius Chamber Music Group. Other concerts were by opera star Nell LaMance, and the Cincinnati Symphony, Eugene Goosens, conductor, in a matinee for school children.
1942-1943 During the War, hardships and changes were in evidence at Friday Musicale. Artists were recruited from local groups. The Symphony Orchestra came under the authority of the City Department of Recreation and was re-named the Jacksonville Philharmonic with George Orner still conducting the same musicians. The Junior Department re-organized into Junior Friday Musicale with student officers.
1943-1944 A Building Fund Committee was established with recognition given also to generous members who donated physical labor and supplies for the club building and landscaping. Philanthropic work was recognized as vital to the organization and re-organized to include all past presidents living in Jacksonville. It was named the Philanthropic Committee. Mrs. Richmond continued her generous sponsorship of the annual Delius Memorial Concerts for ten years.
1944-1946 Soprano Rise Stevens performed, and in the summer of 1945 Concordia Hall was extensively remodeled. Innovations included a balcony, stage enlargement, a kitchen and updated lighting. Murals were painted by a member Florence Seymour. The Fifty-Sixth Season opened in the remodeled permanent home of Friday Musicale with membership reaching nearly five hundred.
1946-1948 Programs were given by Jacksonville Little Theatre and Thelma Johnston Baggs Dance Studio. Artist concerts were given by American pianist William Kapell and Brazilian Lyric-soprano Bidu Sayao. In 1947, a Junior Friday Musicale Symphony was started again by Mrs. Raymond H. King.
1948-1949 Friday Musicale received a generous bequest from the founder’s youngest sister, Mary L’Engle, including her music and recordings. Our scholarship winner attended the Eastman School of Music.
1949-1951 Workshop programs were re-instituted for member participation in a Fourth Friday series. Marion Conner, star of the Little Theatre, presented a “Happy Christmas” program. The Junior Symphony Orchestra continued under the direction of Henry Cornely, Jr., who served for six seasons.
1951-1952 Ernest von Dohnanyi, Hungarian composer and pianist at Florida State University opened the season. Dr. Sullivan Gale Bedell lectured on “Musical Therapy,” and the Sacroni Trio with Alice Biscow Sager, C. Carter Nice, Jr. and James Crosland performed. Junior Friday Musicale membership reached 100 while the Junior Orchestra totaled 58.
1953-1954 Four Jacksonville composers were featured in a first annual local composers’ program.
1954-1955 Musicians from several different music schools (Florida State, Rollins College, Stetson University and University of Alabama) were featured.
1955-1957 A new Steinway piano was purchased for $5,000. The Opening Concert was changed from the first to the third Friday of October.
1957-1959 The Junior Symphony Orchestra was merged with the Mary L’Engle Advanced Orchestra to be known in the future as the Jacksonville Youth Symphony. A benefit concert by young Israeli pianist David Bar-Illan was given for the piano fund.
1959-1961 The Annual Delius Festival was inaugurated and Jacksonville University joined with Friday Musicale in making it a city-wide event. The Delius House at Solano Grove was dismantled and moved to the Jacksonville University campus.
1961-1962 Club members gave $1,100 and period furniture toward restoring and furnishing the Delius House. A public address system was installed in the Auditorium. A new velvet stage curtain and new equipment for the kitchen were also purchased.
1962-1964 Contributions from members helped provide a practice room and piano for the new Fine Arts building at Jacksonville University. Historical Notes like these were first printed in the Yearbook. “The Death of the Bishop of Brindisi” by Gian Carlo Menotti was presented by Friday Musicale Ensemble joining with the choirs of the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Junior Friday Musicale Chorus at Arts Festival Six in the new Civic Auditorium.
1964-1965 The celebration of the 75th Year with a Diamond Jubilee program took the place. Two residential lots at 624 and 639 Oak St. were purchased for use as parking lots. Junior Friday Musicale celebrated a 50th Year Anniversary with a Golden Notes Tea honoring philanthropic past presidents. The Junior Friday Musicale had 168 student members, and 25 string players were in the Junior Orchestra.
1965-1967 Donations were made to pay off the mortgages on the Mason-Hamlin piano and also on the parking lot, which was paved. Dues were increased to $20.00.
1967-1968 A concert by the University of North Carolina Men’s Glee Club was presented as a gift to the community. The charter was rewritten to incorporate new tax laws and 501 (c) 3 provisions. The Junior Orchestra added brass and woodwinds for a more complete orchestra of forty members.
1968-1970 The Genevieve McMurray Scholarship Fund was established by Mrs. Louis Joos and her son, William, in memory of our past president, beloved teacher, and organist. A Steinway concert grand was purchased and dedicated in 1970 with a bequest of Mrs. Henry L. Richmond and other gifts.
1970-1972 Beethoven’s Bicentennial was observed by a special study program. The mortgage on the Oak St. parking lot, purchased in 1964, was paid off.
1972-1974 WJCT Stereo 90 transmitted three concerts from our auditorium. The Junior Friday Musicale participated in the Delius Festival. Friday Musicale won a 1974 Eve Award.
1974-1976 America’s 1776 Bicentennial Year included a program “See America First” with slides and musical accompaniments by the Marines at the Naval Air Station at Cecil Field.
1976-1978 Anne Koscielny, pianist and former Junior Musicale member, opened the season with a memorial tribute to W. James Crosland, her much-beloved teacher. Break-ins resulted in the loss of silver service and damage to the building. C. Edward Bryan gave a projection screen in memory of W. James Crosland. Film Festivals featuring Verdi and Liszt were held. Dues rose to $30.
1978-1980 A major campaign was launched for building improvements including three new heating/air conditioning units, re-painting and installation of foyer murals. A Resolution of Appreciation was drawn up for Amy Wilcox who gave matching funds. Gifts from Annie Mae Skinner established a substantial Building Fund for ongoing preservation.
1980-1982 The Philanthropic Committee awarded four equal college scholarships for the first time. Annie Mae Skinner was honored with a luncheon for her gift of an electric dishwasher. A needlepoint on the balcony wall with our club flower, the yellow jasmine, was made and presented by Laura Belle Macrae in January, our Founding month. Special gifts of $1,000 each in memory of members C. Edward Bryan and Irene Kirbo became the precursor of the Friday Musicale Endowment Trust Fund. The Junior Friday Musicale drew to a close, with only entertainment and cultural activity. Future Planning Funds were used to purchase property south of the Auditorium.
1982-1984 Sadly, Junior Friday Musicale was discontinued with Bylaw amendment. On a positive note, though, the evening concert in February proved popular and was added to the regular schedule.
1984-1986 Commemorative Concert was performed by three former Junior Musicale members, honoring their teachers and conductors of the 1950s. An Ad Hoc Evaluation Committee presented seven recommendations, one of which included opening First Friday Concerts to the public which was approved by the membership in 1986. The Mary L’Engle Fund was combined with the Endowment Trust Funds to permit use of interest for operating expenses.
1986-1988 Valet parking at concerts was initiated by President Dr. Linda Fisher. The bylaws were revised in 1987 and the first affiliate memberships were extended to 20 college students. Members generously responded to an appeal for contributions ($3,000) in lieu of the fund-raising bridge party. Honorary Membership was conferred upon Mrs. John W. Donahoo (Jeanne) and Mrs. F. MacCarthy Perry (Inez) in 1988. The Crosland Fund for Juniors provided its first Award to a junior high school trombonist. A gift from the Edna Sproull Williams Foundation of $5,000 and member donations provided new stage curtains, auditorium draperies and foyer valances. Florence Seymour and Phyllis Andrade restored musical wall murals. The Centennial Committee formed and club members contributed $7,000 for special events. The Delius Association of Florida gave $1,000 Centennial Gift in memory of Mrs. Henry L. Richmond, the originator of the Delius Concerts at Friday Musicale.
1989-1991 Our 100th Season, 1989-1990 was a wonderful success. During the Centennial Year under president, Mrs. Robert McDowell (Mike), we raised $12,000 to prepare the Auditorium, and stage a professional dramatization. The Mayor created a Proclamation of Friday Musicale Day on January 26, 1990. In addition, a financial grant from the City was arranged by Rosa Smith. Under the direction of Marion Conner Price, a performance was given of “A Glimpse of Our Past.” The Friday Musicale Chorus performed throughout the community, under the direction of Andrew Clarke. In addition, they were invited to the White House to give a Christmas concert for President and Mrs. George Bush.
1991-1993 Grace and Cecil Milligan began their fourth year as office staff, caring for the auditorium and grounds, and overseeing increased rentals. By-laws amendments changed terms of office to two years and provided for an Assistant Treasurer. In 1992, the Philanthropic Committee provided financial aid for a high school violinist, Brian Vandenburg, to attend Brevard Music Center. A bequest of stock was received from the Estate of Elizabeth E. Larsen.
1993-1994 Historian-Librarian Ellie Vincent, prepared an album for pictures of guest artists and started a notebook for Historians’ narrative histories for each term. Friday Musicale participated in American Heritage Days at the Jacksonville Landing in May with an exhibit of club memorabilia and a performance by the Chorus, directed by Anne Cornwall Johnson.
1994-1995 In October 1994, we opened the 105th Season still glowing in Centennial luster and boasting new acquisitions. Scholarships had increased to $1,500 per student per year. Everything was going well until “alas, on March 25, 1995 at 5:20 a.m. (Sunday) arson completely destroyed our building and contents including our two grand pianos, all our music, art works, antique furniture and treasures that were irreplaceable” as reported by Mrs. Joel Fleet (Margaret), President. The house maintenance committee, chaired by Jean Brooks, sprang into action, assessing the damage and salvaging equipment and supplies. Richard Suddath gave practical advice and provided trucking and storage services gratis. Meetings and concerts were rescheduled at South Jacksonville Presbyterian Church, the Woman’s Club, and Riverside Presbyterian Church to complete the season. A Re-Building Committee was appointed, chaired by Mrs. Richard Suddath, which set a fund-raising goal of $500,000. Prof. and Mrs. William Hoskins responded with the first check, followed by members and friends, including English representatives who had attended the Delius Festival earlier in March. The season closed at the woman’s Club with the new president, Mrs. Robert McDowell generously reprising the role of president and serving for three years until the new building was built.
1995-1998 Friday Musicale opened the season without a building but met the challenges with extraordinary work by the Social Committee and other standing committees, along with the good will of the community. Following the Opening Concert at Prudential Auditorium, the first benefit concert for re-building was presented at St. John’s Cathedral on October 22, organized by John Barry, music director. The property on Oak Street was cleared and the decision to re-build on the site was made official. In February, personnel chairman Rosa Smith chaired the Appreciation Luncheon for Grace and Cecil Milligan at San Jose Country Club. In 1996, concerts were held at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. Friday Musicale history, recollected by six members, was featured on WJCT, Yesterdays Again, arranged for by Marian Williams. Jacksonville University’s music division, chaired by Dr. Jon Carlson, staged a Faculty Showcase benefit in the fall, which raised $5,000. On March 26, 1997, two years after the fire, ground-breaking ceremonies for the new Auditorium were hosted by the Re-Building committee: Barbara Suddath, Leila Carter, Vivian Clark, Margaret Fleet, Charles McGowan, Sara Powell, Walter Rogers, Jr., and Mike McDowell. The 1996-1997 season ended with an elegant benefit dinner at the River Club, underwritten by local attorney, Gary Pajcic, which netted us $64,000.
A myriad of benefactors stepped forward to raise funds for rebuilding. Benefit concerts were hosted by Aaron and Mary Lou Krosnick in their home; an organ program at Riverside Church by Eric Jenson, Andrew Clarke, Daniel Francabandiero and Mary Holladay; a violin concert by Tasmin Little at Jacksonville University and others in the community. The Thelma and Robert Nied Scholarship was established and cellist Jameson Platte was named the first recipient. A magnificent Steinway concert grand piano was given by Ruth Conley in memory of her husband. The Suddath Family donated $100,000 as we neared our goal. The City Council approved an appropriations bill for $100,000 introduced by councilwoman Ginger Soud on our behalf. On Friday evening, April 3, 1998, we celebrated the Re-Opening of Friday Musicale in the new building with a concert by internationally-known pianist Boaz Sharon, underwritten by the Cultural Council. The following Sunday Afternoon the community was invited to an open house and reception. The president, Mrs. Robert McDowell, was able to announce that the “Friday Musicale Auditorium is rebuilt, open and beautiful, and without a mortgage!” and she acknowledged the confidence, encouragement, and support of the members who made it all happen.
1998-1999 The concert series opened October 16, 1998 in the new building after three years of planning, building, and furnishing. The resumption of concerts, Delius Festival, lectures, and other performances were well attended and received. Five scholarships were granted. Honorary Memberships were presented to Mike McDowell, Barbara Suddath and Richard Suddath. Scott Watkins gave a bonus recital on April 30, before his performance at Carnegie Hall on June 25th.
1999-2001 An updated computer was purchased from the Keehan Bequest. A beautiful new Steinway Concert Grand dedicated on April 28, 2000, was a gift from the Estate of Helen R. Keehan. Executives from Steinway were on hand for the dedication, since Friday Musicale is the only institution in North Florida with two Steinway concert grands on stage. Joyce Adams, Publicity Chair arranged a Channel 12 interview featuring Russian pianist Vladimir Svoysky; Ray Hickman interviewed the president on the radio program, Stereo 90 as well as numerous articles in local newspapers and magazines. More than thirty new members were added.
2001-2002 In the 112th season Honorary Memberships were awarded to Ruth Conley and Walter Rogers. Carolyn Pfohl introduced Bill Pape who donated his extensive collection of opera videos. A Donor Box was constructed to be placed in the foyer to enable concert guests to contribute to Friday Musicale. Joyce Adams and Mary Lou Krosnick co-chaired a special committee to encourage talented young musicians through a Young Pianists Competition.
2002-2004 The 113th season saw the continuation of the Philanthropic Committee commitment to musical education through the awards of four scholarships to graduating high school seniors who plan to major in music. The Executive Board voted to increase the membership dues for the first time in seventeen years. The first annual Outstanding Young Pianists Competition winners were Kong Shi, Monica Qiu, Jocelyn Ho, and Monica Ho.
The 114th Concert Season included pianist Mordecai Shehori and duo pianists Joanne Rogers (Mrs. Fred Rogers) and Jeanine Morrison, who drew television coverage. Local violinist Max Huls performed all 24 Paganini Caprices. Fabio Mechetti joined his wife, Aida Ribiero in a concert and Mary Ellen Young lectured on the life of Fanny Mendelssohn. Christine Clark concluded the evening by playing some of Fanny’s compositions. A generous anonymous donor gave the Kingdom Hall building next door and the lot behind Friday Musicale on May Street. Ida Broward Boyd donated $25,000 for the scholarship program. Virginia Jones gave us thirty-five silver serving pieces, and the Cultural Council of Jacksonville gave us a grant of $13,322.
2004-2005 Our 115th year was inaugurated at our Opening Concert by pianist Anne Koscielny, followed by world famous baritone, Simon Estes. Our concerts and lectures were enjoyed by packed audiences thanks to Dr. John Formanek’s intense publicity efforts which included compiling complete listing of all media sources in our area. The Outstanding Young Pianists Auditions have become an annual event for students in grades 5-12 with a concert for the winners held in January. The estate of Jeanne Donahoo gave us a bequest of $25,000 for the Philanthropic Committee. The Cultural Council’s grant was $21,774 and we netted $54,000 in building rentals through the work of staff members Nicole Brown and Rick Kohlhepp. Starting in May 2005, the building next door will be rented to the Woman’s Club of Jacksonville.
2005 – 2006 This year’s programs truly were international in nature, headlined by pianist Barbara Moser from Vienna, and followed by Daxun Zhang, double bassist, from China accompanied by Tomko Kashiwagi A treasure was given to us by Helen Lane (Mrs. Edward Lane), the Murchison-Lane Musicale Center at 630 May St. to the rear of our Oak St. property. This remarkable gift was accompanied by a generous anonymous endowment for its upkeep. We dedicated this beautiful pink house in a ceremony on May 5, 2006. The upper floor was leased to Theatreworks, producer of children’s plays in the Jacksonville area. The 45th Annual Delius Festival concert was presented in March 2006. Bill Rodriguez and his son set up our first website. Kuhn Florist has kindly donated the floral arrangements for our Opening Concerts for the past 16 years. Our thanks go out to Sam and Rosa Smith for initiating this beautiful tradition.
2006-2007 The 117th season was inaugurated with the Opening concert by pianist Laurent Boukobza from Paris. The January concert included a rare performance of “A Soldier’s Tale” by Igor Stravinsky, narrated by Jim Goodell, and two compositions by our own member Dr. Sharon Scholl. This concert was recorded for sale. We added a new sound system with a grant from the Community Foundation. We also received a Cultural Council grant of $22,833. We are grateful for the gift of $10,000 from the estate of Dorothea O. Smith and an anonymous gift of $5,000. Another anonymous gift of $20,000 was designated to fund the new Carolyn Day Pfohl Music Educator Award to be given to select music teachers for outstanding accomplishment. A plaque was installed in the foyer to list the names of the winners. The Outstanding Young Pianists Auditions exceeded all expectations with 28 participants.
2007-2008 The Opening Concert for the 118th season presented Stephen Ng , Tenor and Michael Rickman, piano. Kuhn Florists provided arrangements and Publix and Winn Dixie provided refreshments. We experienced a wide selection of music from the following: David Burgess, classical guitar; Boyd Jones, harpsichord (French Baroque music); Tahira Whittington, cello, from The Ritz Players; and Scott Watkins, piano, Mary Lou Wesley, piano, Aaron Krosnick, violin from Jacksonville University; Lauren Boukobza, piano, from Stetson University; Archiglas, internationally known Russian vocal quartet; Lynnsey Smith with Irish Fiddle tunes; the Caribbean Steel Pan Band; Ileana Fernandez, principal pianist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, who willingly stepped in on short notice to replace Juan Jose Zabellos who was unable to obtain a Visa. We appreciate all these exceptional performances. This year 34 students played in The Outstanding Young Pianists’ Auditions.
Three of our scholarship students: Seth Bowser, piano; Rebecca Boone, soprano, and John Urban, piano performed after the Chorus’ Spring Concert. A separate vocal scholarship was awarded. The judges payment was increased this year, and the scholarship amounts were increased from $1,500 to $2,000 per school year. Jacksonville’s talented Bella Voce Cabaret group performed Opera and Operetta Favorites with Jim Goodell directing and performing. In addition, Bach’s “Coffee Cantata” was staged by Jim Goodell and performed by Rhonda Tinnin, soprano, Paul Phillips, tenor, and Jim Goodell, bass, with the Mary L’Engle Ensemble, David Bowen, conductor. Henson Markham suggested we schedule morning and evening programs at 11:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. next season. We voted to change the Bylaws to have our Business Meetings begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by the programs at 11:00 a.m. The Carolyn Day Pfohl Musisc Educator Award. The first award of $1,000 was given to John Larsen on May 2nd. The chorus practiced in the first floor parlor of the Murchison-Lane Building using a Yamaha piano which was purchased with an anonymous donation. The beautiful pink house was repainted.
2008-2009 Opening our 119th Season, Board members anticipated that our President, Christine Clark would unveil innovations that reflected her long-standing association with Friday Musicale. After all, she had been a member of the Junior Friday Musicale (1968-1969) and knew well our organization and its needs. One of the major changes was taking over operations from our building next door, promptly re-named L’Engle Hall in honor of our founder, Mrs. Claudia Engle Adams and her sister Miss Mary L’Engle. The Yamaha baby grand piano was moved from the Murchison-Lane Musicale Building and proved to be much-used when our annual Young Pianist and College Scholarship Auditions rolled around. It was a perfect place for students to “warm up” and correct last-minute mistakes.
A much-anticipated addition to our Friday Musicale family was occurred in May 2009 as Chris Heacox was hired as our first Executive Director. He arrived with a generous array of skills that matched well with our goals and future needs. With a musician’s background and impressive computer skills, Friday Musicale’s website soon blossomed into an impressive portrayal of our goals and activities. Finally, our very experienced Concert Committee Pam Franklin, Henson Markham, Dr. Sharon Scholl scheduled a tremendous season of concerts with the addition of 7:30 p.m. performances on Friday catering to the music lovers in the community that cannot attend 11:00 performances.
2010-2011 The 121st season of the Friday Musicale began with the presidency of Henson Markham, the first male president in the history of the organization. Mr. Markham’s association with the Friday Musicale goes back to the Friday Musicale Junior Symphony Orchestra in the late ’40s in which he played double bass.
In August 2010 the Friday Musicale introduced the idea of a Jacksonville summer music festival with two, highly successful pilot concerts which augured well for future summer seasons.
In the fall of 2010 the Board authorized the renovation of L’Engle Hall into a first class rental venue in keeping with the standards of the Friday Musicale auditorium. The renovation, under the supervision of executive director Chris Heacox, was completed in February 2011 and introduced to the membership and public with great acclaim after the concert of cellist Alexei Romanenko.
Other high points of the year include the debut of Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton on opening night, the Outstanding Young Pianists Audition and Concert, the community outreach touring program on ‘The Black Mozart: Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the performance of the Marshner opera ‘Der Vampyr’ by the JU Opera Theatre, the April College Scholarship Auditions, and the completion of the first financial audit of the organization in its 120 year history.