Society marks 70 years of musical harmony during platinum anniversary

August 31 2017

ONE of the oldest organisations in Chipping Sodbury is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

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ONE of the oldest organisations in Chipping Sodbury is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

The Chipping Sodbury Music Society was founded by a group of music enthusiasts in 1947.

Originally called the Downleaze Music Club, members first met in each other’s homes for illustrated talks, lectures and gramophone recitals.  

Live concerts were introduced by the 1960s and sponsorship gained to provide financial support.

As membership grew and increasing numbers of acclaimed musicians were engaged for concerts, the club started meeting in St Lawrence Church and later in Chipping Sodbury School. 

For its 40th anniversary, the organisation held a gala concert with a performance by the London Bach Orchestra.

In the following years concerts were given by the likes of clarinetist Emma Johnson, who was the 1984 BBC Young Musician of the Year, harmonica player Tommy Riley and harpist Skaila Kanga.

The club adopted its current name in 1990, attracting members and sponsorship from a much wider area, and moved to Chipping Sodbury Town Hall with its larger auditorium.

 Today it continues to offer a range of music, from classical and big band to jazz, folk and world music, to its audiences.

It is also a keen promoter of the musicianship of young students, with performances given by the Purcell School of Music, Flutissimo under the direction of Ian Clarke and the South Gloucestershire Music Hub.    

Its anniversary season features a gala concert with the Amadeus Orchestra, medieval, folk and world music from Joglaresa, a return of 4 Girls 4 Harps and the Mandolinquents.   

 For many years, the late Anneliese Hartman was the society’s vice-president. Born in Berlin, she studied music at the city’s university but had to abandon her course in her final year when the Nazis came to power. 

She came to England and completed her degree at Birmingham University, becoming a British citizen in 1948.

But she moved south west in 1960 to take up the role of head of music at Chipping Sodbury School, where she also formed a choir and orchestra.