VIRGINIA FEDERATION OF MUSIC CLUBS

During the week of February 23-28, 1920 (known as ‘Musical Week’), representatives from the State Teachers’ Association and the State Music Clubs gathered in Roanoke, VA. Since 1908, when the National Federation of Music Clubs was established, their dream had been for VIRGINIA to become a member of the National Federation of Music Clubs. At this gathering, the dream became a reality. Mrs. J. Proctor Brown, Big Stone Gap, VA was appointed by the National Federation to organize the Virginia clubs.

On Opening Day, Mrs. Brown presented the aims and guidelines of the National Federation to the members. At the following day’s business session, the Constitution and Bylaws of the new Virginia Federation of Music Clubs were adopted; the first Officers were elected and installed; and the new slogan was adopted - “Music for Virginia - and Virginia for Music”.

The second meeting of the VFMC was held in Richmond, VA in 1921. John Powell, the
state’s great pianist-composer, performed. In 1932, he was commissioned by National to write a symphony based on American Folk Music. The world premiere of his “Symphony in A” was heard at the NFMC Convention in Detroit, April 1947.

Mrs. Daisy Howe Umberger, Wythville, VA, originated hymn-playing contests in 1925. It was Virginia’s report of this at the 1947 National Convention in Chicago that resulted in National adopting the plan, as a part of their Church Music Department.

The fifth (5th) President of the Virginia Federation, Annabel Morris Buchanan, organized the White Top Festival in 1931 (over 20,000 attended). She was commissioned by NFMC to do a work for women’s chorus and orchestra. First performance of “Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies” was heard at the Minneapolis Biennial in 1933. She established the NFMC National Folk Music Archives in the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

Julia Fuqua Ober, from Norfolk, VA was the sixth (6th) President of the Virginia Federation of Music Clubs, 1930-34, and was elected the fourteenth (14th) President of the National Federation of Music Clubs, 1937-1941, Virginia has a State Voice Scholarship in her name. She was the only Virginian to serve as NFMC President until 2007, when Lana Bailey, from Woodbridge, VA, was elected.

Tidbits:

Did you know that...
...the Virginia Chair at the John F. Kennedy Center was established during 1967-69...

...on October 6, 1970, fifteen (15) VFMC members attended the ground-breaking for the National Headquarters Building at Wolf Trap Farm Park, Vienna, VA. (However, in 1979, the NFMC Board voted to accept release of that contract - and to purchase the Eden Talbot home in Indianapolis as their Headquarters)...

...November 2, 1975 was VIRGINIA DAY at the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. John Powell was honored as the State Composer and a plaque was to be placed in a prominent place in the state. All of this was made possible by a grant from Exxon...

...Virginia was Host for the South Eastern Federation Weekend at Brevard Music Center, NC, in 1983, 1995, and in 2004...
.....the State was Host for the NFMC Fall Session in August 1986 in Williamsburg, VA, - the FIRST National Federation meeting ever held in Virginia. Subsequent National meetings hosted by Virginia - August 2000 Fall Session in Roanoke, VA; June 2011 Biennial, McLean, VA...

...in the 70’s, the National Federation presented a Steinway Grand Piano to the United Nations. The project was financed by states purchasing a KEY of the piano...Virginia was among those contributing.

In the years following that historic 1920 gathering, VIRGINIA has become a “Star State” for the National Federation. It is consistently at the top in festivals, junior composers, junior clubs, and in awards from National. Many VFMC members have served the National Federation as committee chairs, division leaders, elected and appointed officers, and board members. The State remains committed to its original purpose - “...to bring together music clubs, other musical organizations and individuals directly or indirectly associated with musical activity...to develop and maintain high musical standards; aid and encourage musical education; and to promote American music and American artists...”

VFMC MISSION STATEMENT

The Virginia Federation of Music Clubs is a not-for-profit organization, under the umbrella of the National Federation of Music Clubs, which is chartered by the Congress of the United States.  It’s mission is to foster and promote American music and American musicians, and to be a community advocate for the cause of good music.  Membership includes performers, teachers and people who love music and are willing to support its cause.  Payment of dues accomplishes a threefold purpose – funding at the local level, a portion to the state and thence to the national coffers.  There are three categories of membership – Junior, Student/Collegiate and Senior.  Competitions held at all three levels of membership form the majority of the mission goal.  The most popular event is the Federation Festival, held at the local level  which provides a unique, not-competitive opportunity for juniors and seniors to perform under friendly conditions.  VFMC has been in existence since 1922 and NFMC is over one hundred years young.