Orpheus Club of Tacoma

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Orpheus Club of Tacoma

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Dates of existence

1903-1990s

History

The Orpheus Club of Tacoma was formed as a chorus that would offer both musical fellowship for its members and provide public concerts for the community. The club was founded on May 4, 1903 when a dozen men met at St. Luke's parish house and formed a temporary organization. Later that year the permanent organization was officially established. Members began practicing once a week in January 1904 under the direction of Keith J. Middleton, conductor and founder. The Orpheus Club's first public concert was held at the Masonic Temple at 734-36 Saint Helens Ave. on June 20, 1904. At the height of its membership from the 1930s to the 1950s the club consisted of over 70 singing or active members. Members sang at the opening of Stadium Bowl in 1910 and for the opening of the Camp Lewis Theater in 1918, and performed with the Seattle Philharmonic orchestra and the New York Symphony at the Tacoma Theatre. In addition to concerts, the club provided services to organizations such as hospitals, schools and retirement homes. Members from all walks of Tacoma's business and civic communities were long-time members of the club, such as Judge Hal Murtland, architect John Richards, grocer Iver Belsvig, early pioneer and wholesale supplier Frederick Mottet, and former mayor W. W. Seymour. From its founding until it was disbanded in the 1990s, the chorus performed two concerts a year and practiced once a week September through May.

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Tacoma

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