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Grand Traverse Musicale celebrates 90th anniversary

student violinist

The organization recently awarded almost $27,000 in scholarships to 38 music students in the Grand Traverse region.

The Grand Traverse Musicale will celebrate its 90th anniversary with a recital this week.

Founded in 1932, the organization's mission is to support local young musicians through scholarships while also presenting quality music outreach programs in the region.

In 2022, the Grand Traverse Musicale awarded nearly $27,000 in scholarships to 38 middle and high school students in the region.

Grand Traverse Musicale members Gwen Willson and Meredith Parsons McComb visited IPR's Studio A to talk about the organization's mission.

"We try to award as much money as we have," Willson said, laughing. The scholarships are not limited to graduating seniors. Students in grades 7 through 12 use the scholarships to help with expenses like the cost of lessons and instruments.

Willson said it's exciting for their organization to watch some students grow as musicians as they audition for scholarships each year. Plus, they have the opportunity to support not only local public school students but also students from private schools and who are home schooled.

When the Grand Traverse Musicale started 90 years ago, all of its members were required to audition and expected to perform. "There is still quite a component of members of the club performing for each other," McComb said.

In line with that tradition, McComb will be one of several musicians featured during the upcoming 90th anniversary concert.

In Studio A, McComb accompanied herself in a performance of two art songs: Gustav Mahler's setting of "Liebst du um Schönheit" and Aaron Copland's "Simple Gifts."

Also on the program are scholarship winners Ruby Bardenhagen and Oliver Boomer as well as an ensemble featuring Jeff Cobb and friends.

The Grand Traverse Musicale's 90th Anniversary Celebration Event takes place Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Traverse City. Click here for more information.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Stefan Wiebe engineered this edition of Studio A.