The Saturday Club – the Musical Coterie of Wayne

The Book of Programs compiled by the Musical Coterie from its files covering a period of 15 years was a noteworthy achievement. Published in 1925 and copyrighted by Miss H. Velma Turner, the book received favorable comment from many sources, selling throughout the entire United States. Among those who enthusiastically endorsed it were George C. Gow, head of the department of music at Vassar College and Helen Pulaski Innes, conductor of the Matinee Musical Club Chorus of Philadelphia.

The book was most convenient in size and makeup. Measuring six by eight inches with table of contents and complete index, the 116 programs contained in it were arranged according to periods, nationalities and individual composers. There were more than 300 of these composers, and made up of all nationalities, its scope ranged from early Italian music to that of the ultra-modern French and Russian.

Of the general work of the Coterie at the time this book was published, Stanley Neuschamp, in a special feature article written for the Philadelphia Inquirer in June, 1925, says: “All of the good work in the case of music is not the result alone of the playing of the large orchestras, nor the singing of the great opera companies. It is well within the domains of the smaller organizations and the music clubs to foster a love for music and to cultivate it.

“The Musical Coterie of Wayne, our suburban neighbor, has been studying the master-musicians and their works for 15 years, during which time they have covered enormous areas of musical ground. The recording officer, Miss H. Velma Turner, has kept a record of their meetings. These records, consisting of programmes presented during the 15 years now ending, cover the subject of the nationalistic and racialistic in music; the classic, romantic and modern periods, and conclude with a series of programmes each devoted exclusively to the works of one composer.”

Another noteworthy achievement of the Musical Coterie was the establishment of a Memorial Library in 1929 to honor the deceased members of the organization. The books, chosen with much thought, included those of biography, of history of music, or symphonies; indeed all manner of musical literature. There were also bound volumes of vocal music and piano music. All these have been housed for some time in the Memorial Library of Radnor Township, where they are available not only to Coterie members, but to Library members as well. The Library also devotes several shelves to vocal scores.

Book plates for the books given in memory of deceased Coterie members were designed by Miss Lecian von Bernuth, of Strafford. The latter has made “an exquisite adaptation of the Melozza da Forte angel of the vatican collection,” an adaptation which “has conveyed in feeling manner the spirit of reverence so in keeping with a memorial of his kind.”

Each book plate bears the name of the Coterie member whose memory it has been given. Among these names are those of Mrs. Robert LeBoutillier, Mrs. Charles Walton, Mrs. Parke Schoch, Mrs. John Dunlap, Mrs. Joseph Clegy, Mrs. Spiers and Mrs. R. E. Hinkel. Miss Turner had much to do with the original selection of books, and served as Coterie Librarian for some time. Among others who have served in this capacity are Miss Alvira Echert and more recently, Mrs. G. Rishton Howell.

The chorus of the Coterie has always been one of the main features of programs given for the public. On several occasions the organization has also sponsored mixed choruses, one of the long remembered of these occasions being an evening party at the LeBoutillier home when the Euterpean joined forces with the Coterie. The Euterpean was for many years an outstanding men’s musical group in Wayne. The name of William Bentz is one always remembered by early Coterie chorus members. “Community Sings” at the High School were one of the means of offsetting the effects of “the depression” on the community.

The Junior Musical Coterie was established in 1926 as a means of developing and giving expression to the talents of youngsters of the community. Programs were given by the members ranging in age from six to sixteen years. On some of them from time to time great artists explained various musical instruments to their youthful listeners and then presented numbers in explanation. Mrs. Robert P. Elmer and Miss Turner had much to do with the early development of the Junior Musical Coterie, which today is a flourishing branch of the parent organization, giving concerts of its own at regular intervals.

Early in its career the Coterie joined the Pennsylvania Federation of Music Clibs, one of those presidents was said in writing to Miss Lillian Walter during her Coterie presidency, “Your club has been one of the outstanding clubs in the Federation, and its splendid achievements have been noted all over the state and nation . . . It is through contact with such club as yours that we grow in national work, generating new ideas.”

It was during the presidency of Mrs. Thomas Blackadder, which extended from 1935-1937 that the Coterie celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding with a dinner held at the Aronimink Golf Glub, when guests included Coterie husbands.

Mrs. Humbert B. Powell was the Coterie’s first president, with an eight year term of office lasting from 1911 to 1919. She was followed by many noteworthy successors, including Mrs. Jessie Fulweller Spiers, Miss H. Velma Turner, Mrs. Charles H. Howson, Mrs. Winfield W. Crawford, Mrs. E. Bisbee Warner, Mrs. Thomas E. Walton, Miss Lillian A. Walter, Mrs. George P. Orr, Mrs. Thomas Blackadder, Miss Gladys Lawton, mrs. F. Ashby Wallace, Mrs. L. Wayne Arny, Mrs. G. Rushton Howell, Mrs. Spencer V. Smith, Mrs. Wesley P. Dunnington and Mrs. Esmond R. Long the incumbent.

Other officers in addition to Mrs. Long include Mrs. Alfred N. Watson, vice-president; Mrs. E. D. Ziegler, recording secretary; Mrs. George V. Woodrow, corresponding secretary, and Miss Margaret Howson, treasurer. Directors include Mrs. Richard H. Clare, Miss Gladys Lawton, Mrs. Roy Fuller and Mrs. A. B. Wheeler. Committee chairmen are Mrs. Dunnington, program; Mrs. Hugh H. Spencer, Junior Coterie; Mrs. Spencer V. Smith, Librarian; Mrs. Orrin C. Knudsen, String Ensemble; Mrs. Wheeler, Chorus; Mrs. Watson, membership; Mrs. Blackadder, publicity and Mrs. Wallace, Camp and Hospital.

Meetings are held on the third Monday afternoon of each month at the homes of various members. The Christmas Concert is always an evening affair, held in conjunction with the Saturday Club. The Spring Concert is another large affair while the annual meeting, followed by a musical program, closes the season.

A quotation from Elbert Hubbard heads the season’s printed program for the year:

“Art is not a thing separate and apart–art is only the beautiful way of doing things.”


A Happy New year to all the readers of this column from Mrs. Patterson!