The Gm1no/h -Vlo _-,-pril, 1923
A HOW TO START GRAMOPHONE SOCIETY
Wm. J. Rogers,
Hon. Secretary oj the Glasgow and District Gramophone Society
THE Gramophone Society movement has now attain ed to considerable proportions. I t is true to say that ther e is not now a town of first-class importance that docs not possess within i ts walls such a society. I am frequently being 'Hitten to from all parts of the countr."·~()nce indced from so far away as Auckland, New Zealand ~asking for information as to " how i t is done." 1V1y own experience of thc movement is not i t year old, yet so gr eat has b ee n the success which the Gla~gow Society has achieved that friends in othn parts are eager to possess the talisman which h a,~ worked such wonders up here.
I t is intcresting to think that prior to last September there was not such a society in our city, and now nearly 250 people have joined and are backing up our movement. I am convinccd that if the fundamental simplicity of commencing a society were more generally known there would be founded throughout th e country n early as many societies again as ex ist already. As far as my own experi ence goes i t seems to In e that the majority of' places are just ripe for the commencement of a gramophonc society. The gramophone has lingered too long undcr the shadow of contempt and publie ridicule, and the establishment of gramophone societies is the first step towards raising our instrum ent in th e estimation of th e public and awarding to i t i ts rightful place amongst musical instrumcnts .
A brief resume of the history of thc founding of my own society will bc the quickest way of setting forth the elements of success in this particular kind of work. Last July I wrote a lett er to a prominent musical paper int crest cd in the gramophon e, suggesting that th e formation of a society in Glasgow was long overdue, and furthcr offering to do what I could to found such a socicty if othcrs likewise inter ested would support mc. (received in all foul' replies to thi s initiallctter. I then arranged for these gentlemen to mect me at a convenient spot, and we there and then set up an Interim Committee to discuss ways and means of bringing the society into being.
The first thing which naturally arose and which really bulks larger in thc public mind than i t needs to , was the question of finance. 'Ve decided what the subscription should be for membership, and thcn " called in " our own subscriptions in order to give the treasurer something to play with. The next pa,rt of our programme consisted of "booming" the society. 'Ye had a dozen showcards artistically printed by a local sigmvriter for the sum of, I think, 15 /- . These cards were distributed among the differe nt dealers in the city, who kindly agreed to di splay them prominently for u s. On these sho"'cards wc set forth tht:' aims of the society and also thc place at which the first public meeting was to be held, with a strong invitation for all interested to be ]H t:'sc nt. vVc then had circular-leaflets printed at the cost of about 25 /- , setting forth a skeleton syJlabus for the first session, and also giving the names of the Office Bearers, who had been appointed by thc Interim Committec. I beli eve that the total s~lm expended in initiating our campaign did not exceed £2 lOs. , so that financially i t -was not very ruinous. One thing that helped ~s greatly at first \\'as that we wcre able to put very good names on our circulars. Our President, Mr. Percy Gordon, who is the Musical Critic of the Glasgow Herald, th e most important daily paper in Scotland, allowed us to use his name from the very start as the prospective President of our Society, besides getting space for us in the Press .
Thc whole of our campaigning was designed to lead up to a final public meeting at -which both MI'. Gordon and I spoke setting forth the aims of th e society, etc. Our membership on that first night alone totalled 123. Since then things have gone on triumphantly.
I t would seem to me on reviewing th e past that several things are ess ential in founding a society. The first is, of course, enthusiasm. The second is effective advertising-making yourself known, ringing all th e bells in the neighbourhood. The third is to get people in musical circles interested in the movement. The fourth, and by no means the least, both immediatcly and for the future, is to get the gramophone traders th emselves behind you. In all these vital r es pects we, in Glasgow, have been most fortunate. A secondary consideration, but one which I hav e found to b~ of considerable weight, is to gct really comfortable premises for thc meetings. The days of hard forms arc numbered. Another thing of importanre also is to keep the subscription as low as possible . Five shillings, in my estimation, is quite sufficient. vY e charge 3 /6 for ladies and have,