The American Chaminade Club Phenomenon

Michele Aichele, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio and Texas A&M University-San Antonio

French female composer Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944) was widely celebrated in the United States with enthusiasts founding over two hundred Chaminade Clubs. These clubs were located in almost every state in the nation and were founded as early as 1890 to as late as 1989. At least five Chaminade Clubs are active today. The women spearheading such music clubs chose Chaminade to be a "tutelary" and titular "saint" for their organizations. They played her music, presented papers on her life, wrote "odes" to the composer, and corresponded with her. Some scholarly research has looked at Chaminade's music and career; however, most research merely mentions the existence of the Chaminade Clubs. This poster presents the widespread phenomenon of the Chaminade Clubs, showing where these clubs were located, when they existed, and what activities they participated in. The information presented here was culled from newspapers, online historical archives, and available federated club pamphlets.

Chaminade Clubs provided their communities with education, performances of "high art" music, and a creative outlet for their members. The women's club movement in the United States was highly influential to American musical life, with thousands of clubs springing up across the United States beginning in the 1880s. Many important musical institutions were started by the women in these music clubs. The Chaminade Clubs are a part of that wider women's music club movement and examining these specific clubs further nuances the activities women engaged in and shows how many of these women viewed Chaminade's career.