LOCAL MUSIC: All are welcome at Afternoon Music Club series in Phoenixville

Cellists Eric Coyne and Julia Morelli (seated) performed at the October meeting of the Afternoon Music Club. Behind them are AMC president Paulette Mark and club member James Bustard, who served as president from 2005-2007.
Cellists Eric Coyne and Julia Morelli (seated) performed at the October meeting of the Afternoon Music Club. Behind them are AMC president Paulette Mark and club member James Bustard, who served as president from 2005-2007. PHOTO BY RUTH SILVER
The Afternoon Music Club of Phoenixville opened its 2017-2018 season on Sept. 19 with a program by Brad Rau (seated).  Shown with Rau after the performance and meeting are club president Paulette Mark of Phoenixville, recording secretary Nancy Loane of Valley Forge, and assistant treasurer Mary Lou Fetchko and treasurer Jeanne Honish, both of Wayne.
The Afternoon Music Club of Phoenixville opened its 2017-2018 season on Sept. 19 with a program by Brad Rau (seated). Shown with Rau after the performance and meeting are club president Paulette Mark of Phoenixville, recording secretary Nancy Loane of Valley Forge, and assistant treasurer Mary Lou Fetchko and treasurer Jeanne Honish, both of Wayne. PHOTO BY RUTH SILVER

Since 1945 the Phoenixville-based Afternoon Music Club has been presenting concerts for music lovers.

It was started by a group of women — some of them trained musicians or music teachers — dedicated to advancing the study and enjoyment of classical music. Their goal was to make classical music available to all, and to help young musicians with encouragement and financial assistance. Eventually membership grew too large for the concerts to be held in people’s homes, and over the years they met in churches, public halls, the Valley Forge Chapel and the Kimberton Country House. Their home base has been First United Methodist Church, 865 S. Main St., Phoenixville, for the last seven years.

The club meets six times a year on the third Tuesdays of the month, from September through November and March through May. “It’s a nice social event. Visitors are always welcome, and new members, and we have really good turnout,” said club president Paulette Mark.

In an email, AMC member Ruth Silver shared that the club’s members not only hail from Phoenixville, but from all over — Oaks, Norristown, Schwenksville, West Chester, Spring City, Wayne, Glenside, Valley Forge, Audubon, Royersford and Pottstown. The performers are also usually from the area.

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The next meeting of the AMC will be at 1 p.m. Nov. 21 at First Methodist. The featured performer will be autoharp specialist Ivan Stiles, who also plays a musical saw, then there will be a club business meeting and refreshments. A $10 donation will be taken at the door, and it’s only $8 if you’re an invited guest of a member. “He’s a world champion auto harp player,” said Mark, adding that Stiles has played at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

September’s meeting featured a program by professional classical guitarist, rock guitarist and rock drummer Brad Rau, who has been performing music for more than 20 years in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

“We try to present a variety of programs,” said Mark.

At October’s meeting, professional cellists Eric Coyne and Julia Morelli performed. Ten years ago, Morelli was a recipient of a scholarship from the Afternoon Music Club, and she is now a faculty member of Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s Tune-Up Philly, the Haverford School and the Community Music School in Trappe.

A $650 scholarship is awarded by the AMC to a Phoenixville Area High School senior that plans to pursue a career in music, and has been accepted as a music major for the upcoming school year. Another $650 scholarship, based solely on financial need, is awarded each year to a student selected by the Community Music School.

This year’s scholarship recipients are soprano Taylor Patania of Phoenixville High School and violinist Declan Fischer of the Community Music School.

Keep track of future concerts at www.afternoonmusicclub.com.