Greensburg’s Friday Evening Music Club celebrates 75th year
Greensburg’s Friday Evening Music Club has been making music for 75 years.
The club will celebrate the anniversary Friday at the first recital of the season.
“There’s really no other venue like it,” said member and pianist Matt Klumpp. “It allows you to make connections, it allows you to meet people that you would not ordinarily meet.”
Professional and amateur musicians alike are welcome in the club, which meets monthly during the school year to perform free concerts for the public.
It was founded in 1944 to promote the performing arts in Westmoreland County and give musicians a place to practice and socialize, Klumpp said.
“It was founded as an outlet for people who perform,” he said.
Pianist Ed Kuhn, chair of Seton Hill University’s music department, has been part of the music club since the 1970s. He learned piano from club founder and music teacher Mildred Gardner.
“(Gardner) just had the infectious passion for music and the arts that was not too common for this area, and it was really wonderful, and she really affected a lot of people’s lives,” Kuhn said.
Gardner would bring her students to music club recitals to perform.
The club gives a $1,000 Mildred Gardner Scholarship to a music major every year. Several past scholarship winners will perform at Friday’s recital.
Klumpp and Kuhn will perform a two-piano sonata composed by Gardner.
Klumpp found documents from throughout the club’s history through the Westmoreland County Historical Society. Those documents will be on display at Friday’s recital.
The club has changed a bit over the decades, Klumpp said.
“Originally the meetings were more like meetings, where members would only perform with each other, and there was a lot more business,” he said.
Now it’s more about the music. Recitals are free and open to the public.
In addition to the monthly public concerts, the club holds a “salon series” where members practice in each other’s homes.
“We get to perform serious, traditional classical music, which is kind of a rare thing these days,” Kuhn said.
Klumpp said the club gives professionals a chance to try new pieces in a low-pressure environment, and amateurs a place to keep their skills sharp.
“Where can a classical flutist go to perform on the flute, if it wasn’t for FEMC?” he asked.
Friday’s free 75th anniversary celebration begins at 7:30 p.m. at University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg’s Campana Chapel. A full list of this season’s concert dates can be found at fridayeveningmusicclub.org.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .