The Presto Club Part 2

Author: Unknown

Publication Date: 1964

Edited: 2021


The last publication dealt with the organization of the Presto Club. This issue deals with its expansion. The information is derived from the same Presto Music Club programme dated Friday February 15, 1946.

The first public concert took place on November 28, 1899, in the City Hall auditorium. Mr. J.D.A. Tripp, a brilliant Toronto pianist, was the soloist. He was assisted by Miss Dora McMurty, soprano. Her accompaniments were played by Miss Hattie Kelly of Guelph. The recital, costing 50 cent admission was both an artistic and a financial success. Mrs. Buckingham entertained the artists and the club’s committee afterwards.

In a short while, evening meetings were added to the regular afternoon house meetings. The first of these was held at the home of the late Mrs. G. S. Ryan in the fall of 1900. About 100 attended. During the following season, several recitals of a similar nature were given. The club members, with assisting vocalists supplied the programmers. Besides, several professional concerts were sponsored and took place in the City Hall.

A choral group was added in 1908. The members met for rehearsal in the Public Library. The conductor was Mr. Williams, lately from England who resided at that time in Preston, Ontario. The first concert was given in the Opera House in April 1906. Edward Johnson and Mary Hissem de Moss, soprano, were the artists. Under the conductorship of Mr. Earnest Shildrick, two more concerts were held. By 1909, however, the choral practices were discontinued. House meetings were continued as well as several professional concerts at the public library.

During the season of 1915-1916, a list of associate members were added to the club, and in 1918, young student members were allowed to join.

In the season of 1922-1923, the club decided to increase its membership to “not less than 400.” A committee convened by Mr. Hyce Auld presented a membership of 764 persons, the fee being fixed at two dollars. In May 1923, the last of the house concerts werr held and the first concert given by the junior members took place.