THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Subscribers are ‘the backbone of the Belfast Philharmonic Society’

From the News Letter, June 1, 1904

Monday, 1st June 2020, 12:48 pm
Clarence Place Minor Hall. Image: Google Street view
Clarence Place Minor Hall. Image: Google Street view

The thirtieth annual general meeting of the Belfast Philharmonic Society had been held the previous day in Clarence Place Minor Hall in Belfast, reported the News Letter on this day in 1904.

On the motion of Mr J H Neill and seconded by Mr W J Stokes, the chair was taken by the Earl of Shaftesbury. Among those also present at the meeting were Messrs Hugh C Kelly, F W Moneypenny, T C Houston, J K Smith, S B Thompson, W Farren, A Morrison, E Cook, A Caughey, S G Crymble, S C Hardy, John Sinclair, J L Downey, Charles T Millard, the joint honorary secretary, Charles H Brett and assistant secretary E J Dowdall.

The Earl of Shaftesbury said that he was glad to see from the annual report which had been presented to the society had show that it had had a successful season and that the chorus and orchestra, “under the skilful instruction of Dr Koeller”, had improved in “efficiency”.

He remarked: “I hope that there will be additional subscriptions to the society during the coming year. We want as many subscribers as we can get, they are the backbone of any organisation.”

He added: “The Belfast Philharmonic is the best means of bringing before the music loving public of Belfast and some of the best works that have been written and having them rendered by some of the most distinguished artistes of the present day and there should be no hesitation in giving the society liberal support.”

The earl added that he had had “the good fortune” earlier in the year of being in Birmingham during the city’s musical festival and that he had had the great pleasure of hearing performed Elgar’s The Apostle.

He remarked that at that time it had occurred to him that Belfast should also have its own “big musical festival”.

He added: “If they society decided upon having one I will only be to ready to give my assistance and influence for such a venture. I realise that it will mean a lot of money but I have no doubt the necessary funds will be forthcoming.”