The Music in the Valley Society

posted in: News

Forty years ago today, on August 17, 1983, the board of directors for the organization that would become The Valley Concert Society held its second meeting, again at the home of their president Paul Moritz.

Of particular note was the appearance of a new name among those present at the meeting, Elizabeth Carter. Liz, as she was more commonly known, became the longest-serving member of the board, serving from the beginning until her death in March of 2015, a total of nearly thirty-two years. The society chose to memorialize her enormous contribution by naming the pre-concert talk after her.

There is one curious discrepancy in the record regarding Liz’s first appearance at a meeting of the society. The meeting minutes show that she attended the second meeting on August 17 but not the first meeting on July 12. However, the document incorporating the organization as a registered society includes her signature. This signature page was dated July 12. So whether she was there and omitted from the minutes, or whether she wasn’t and signed this document at some other time or place, we will probably never know.

The first major item of business at the meeting on August 17 concerned the name of the society. All of the early documents were titled The Music in the Valley Society. Neill Brown, the secretary, reported to the meeting that there were several problems with their application for registration as a society, one of them being the name. In a memorandum attached to the minutes, he explained that their chosen name had been rejected. A descriptive word had to appear between “Valley” and “Society”. He had reserved the name The Music in the Valley Orchestral Society, pending discussion of the issue at the board meeting.

The board chose three potential names, listing them in order of preference: The Valley Concert Society, The Fraser Valley Concert Society, The Music in the Valley Concert Society. Clearly the first preference was accepted, and that is how the society got the name it has used until the present.

According to the minutes of the first meeting, the season would have opened with a recital by violinist Gerald Jarvis while the third program in February was to have been a wind ensemble from the VSO. Paul Moritz announced that this had been changed for scheduling reasons, so that Jarvis’ recital would be in February and the ensemble would open the season on November 29. We now know that the makeup of the ensemble also changed from winds to three strings, clarinet, and piano.

At the first meeting, there had been talk of borrowing a grand piano from a local resident. It was now reported that Walter Podzelny of Podzelny Pianos would provide a Kawai concert grand for $210. This amount included rental, moving, and tuning. By comparison, our most recent rental of a piano was closer to ten times that amount, a number that covered only moving and tuning, as the rental was complimentary.

The rest of the meeting dealt with arrangements for the concert such as the stage at the Abby Arts Centre and providing intermission refreshments. More importantly, the minutes hinted at the vast amount of work that lay ahead in promoting the concert and generating an audience large enough to cover expenses. This challenge would preoccupy the board for the next few months until shortly before the first concert took place.

John Wiebe - President
The Valley Concert Society