Thanks to Matinee Musicale, Duluth provided top flight musical performances during a time when music was viewed not just as an art form, but also as a comfort for the distressed, an edification for the human spirit, an outlet for civic involvement and a national symbol of American pride.
Matinee Musical was established in 1905 as a collective, citywide group whose mission, according to the organization’s documented history, was “to advance the interest and promote the culture of musical art in the city of Duluth and to promote the musical education of its members.”
Acceptance of the musical group was widespread, with186 members joining during its inaugural year. Just 25 years later Duluth News Tribune columnist Margaret Ulvang reported the membership had grown to over 700 people.
Rachmanioff’s solo performance in Duluth was a part of the “All Star Music Course,” founded by Duluthian Bertha Richard, a native of New Hampshire who began the concert series in 1916 when she brought Irish tenor John McCormick to Duluth. In addition to managing the “All Star Music Course” for 12 years, Richards also served as president of Matinee Musical in 1922.