Part 2 in series
The Cleveland Music Club has always remembered its purpose: to promote musical art in Bradley County. This year, it will celebrate 100 years of music in Cleveland and Bradley County.
The Music Club began on Dec. 5, 1911, with founder Ruth Aiken. A small group of musicians met at the home of Mrs. W.S. Milne on Ocoee Street to organize into a music club. That first meeting was in the Craigmiles House, which now houses the History Branch of the Cleveland Public Library.
By 1913, approximately 200 attended a reception held at the Milne home. In 1923, the music club became one of the departments of the newly organized Woman’s Club. It became an independent organization in 1929 through the leadership of Mrs. C.W. Harle.
Over the years, Cleveland has been host to many outstanding musicians. Not only has the club promoted the Community Concerts, but each year club members gave a public concert, usually at a local church. One notable concert was Keyboards ’80 with seven pianos and 15 pianists.
The club has received several awards, among them, the Award of Merit in the “Parade of American Music” under sponsorship of the National Federation of Music Clubs from 1965 through 1969.
Participating in the February 1969 program, which was directed by Mrs. Charles Frady, were the club president Mrs. Coleman Sawyer, Mrs. M.A. Hall, Mrs. James Henderson, Mrs. Hugh Randolph, Roy Harrison, Max Pelly and John Tyler, along with Clanton Randolph, Mrs. Frank Manly, Stanley Thompson and Mrs. Bill Paul.
The Cleveland club was the only club in the third district to receive an award for its music week promotion. The club placed emphasis on patriotic music such as “This is My Country, the “Star-Spangled Banner” (our national anthem) and “This Land Is Your Land.”
In fulfilling its mission in the community, the club bestows an annual scholarship to a high school student in Bradley County who lans to pursue a college education in music.
The scholarship program was established in 1968-69 and is funded by members’ dues, donations, memorials and concerts given by club members. Recipients of the scholarships are chosen through auditions before the Scholarship Committee. In 1985, the Music Club acquired a nonprofit, tax deductible status so it could receive donations.
The club celebrated its 75th anniversary in February 1987 with a tea at the home of Mrs. Coleman Sawyer. Bylaws were reviewed and revised and a criteria for membership was established. Any person who desired membership in the club must be recommended, accepted by the membership committee and commit to be the host of a monthly meeting and perform during a program during the year.
Easter Randolph Frady, a past president, said she loves music and the music club. A love of music is a family heritage. Her mother was a musician — she rode a horse to her own music lessons — and encouraged her daughter’s interest in music, even to the point of washing the dishes so she could practice on her old upright piano. She began her studies with Ruth Aiken and studied also with Meta Harris Sherman and Harold Cadek.
In a Community Concert, a song on the program was “I Found My Million Dollar Baby in a Five and Ten Cent Store.” Frady shared with the performers her own story about the song.
When her dad came out of the Navy, he was a barber, she said. And when he saw her mother who worked at Woolworth’s, he told those in the shop, “Boys, that’s the girl I’m going to marry.” The story goes ... later he went to Woolworth’s, put his arm around his future wife, and said, “I Found My Million Dollar Baby in a Five and Ten Cent Store.” And he married her.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In this series on music in Bradley County, some information and material is gleaned from past articles written by Bettie Marlowe. If you would like to make a contribution to this series, we welcome your stories. Send information to: email@example.com
“The Collect” — written by Elizabeth Cate Manly — states the mission of the Music Club:
We thank Thee, Lord, for music — thy great gift
Enjoyed and understood by all mankind
From simple song to brilliant symphony,
The language of the mind and soul
This cherished gift,
a trust, is ours to share.
We ask Thy blessing as we strive to give
To music now and in the years to come
Its rightful place in our community.