It was on 6th April 1952 that the Aldeburgh Music Club first met at Crag House, the home of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. Those members who wished to play music would meet once a month and, from the start, membership was open to ‘all practising musicians, amateur and professional, in Aldeburgh and district’.They were, however, restricted to thirty-five in number and by invitation of the committee - and so it remained for many years.
There were three groups - recorder players, singers and string players, who met to play on Club Nights. During the Club’s first year they were joined by Imogen Holst who became Conductor and then Vice-president and was associated with the Club until her death in 1984. The first concert was held in August 1953 and in the following few years the Club participated in the Aldeburgh Festival. Rosamund Strode began her life-long involvement with the Club in 1964; she became Vice-President after Britten’s death in 1976. Rae Woodland became President after Pears’ death in 1986.
By the early 1980’s the number of recorder and string players had dwindled; the Club was, inevitably, evolving. A pattern of three concerts a year developed and under Philip Reed’s direction, in 1986, professional soloists were used. It has been so ever since. In 1995 the Club gave its first performance at the Snape Maltings Concert Hall. How different to the small gatherings at Crag House! There is, though, an important constant. The Club’s Constitution, from that start, declares that:
‘The Club is to meet together to make music, and for mutual help and criticism.’
The current Director of Music, Edmond Fivet, the Club’s President, Humphrey Burton, Vice-Presidents Alan Britten and Robin Leggate, the Committee, Sponsors, Patrons and of course the many professional musicians with whom the choir performs, all help and encourage us to do just that. We are fortunate to be able to present our audiences with performances of major works from the choral repertoire; we not only enjoy making music together - our commitment is richly rewarded.