St. Cecilia Society of Flint

Fall Cadenza 2023

Jean Weamer, Presidents

Vol. 51, No. 1

Larry MacDonald, Editor

January 2024 – March 2024


Winter greetings and Happy New Year from the SCS Newsletter editor!

The following message is meant as both a statement of good will and a challenge: The St. Cecilia Society continues to survive despite the constantly expanding turmoil in the world around us. As we start 2024, let us hope to build up our membership by continuing to invite those around us to join our ranks by attending our monthly programs. Thanks to the auditions we have held over the past few years, we have added many top-flight musicians to our ranks as performing members.

Our President’s Choice program on October 15th, which featured pianist Cliff Monear and percussionist Miguel Gutierrez, was very well received, as was our November 12th program. Flutist Christina Fenlon and yours truly, Larry MacDonald, gave a program that embraced such Classical composers as J. S. Bach, Franz Joseph Haydn, Robert Schumann, and Franz Liszt, as well as such popular songwriters as George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, and Jimmy McHugh. Our December program was especially well attended, and featured flutist Mary Procopio with her husband, Dirk Nieuwenhuis, on saxophone, and Pat Cronley on piano. The program also featured guitarist Michael Abbasspour and baritone Robert Hoag, who sang a program of Slavonic Christmas music. The Society is privileged to have such a wide range of musical talent.

In the coming months, we are looking forward to excellent programs. There is no program in January, but on February 11th, SCS will present Andrew Cramer, piano; Cindy Butcher, soprano; Tom Travis, tenor; and Larry Adkins, cello; who had to switch from March. On March 10th, we will have a program featuring Stephanie Dean, soprano (a makeup date for her); Clayton Stoker, organ; Eden Thorpe, soprano; and Terrence Stewart, baritone. Please note that the March 10th performance will be held at Court St. United Methodist Church.

– Larry MacDonald


Dear St. Cecilia friends,

This has been a very busy year for our club. We have heard some top-notch concerts by our performing members. Here are some of the highlights of what’s happening behind the scenes:

  1. We have been working to increase our membership and audience. Our numbers have dropped significantly. We are advertising on our website, Facebook, and the FIM weekly emails.
  2. We are reaching out for financial help in the form of community grants. Thank you for your suggestions.
  3. We are initiating Protecting Our Children, a written policy of rules and procedures designed to help keep our 40+ members of St. Cecilia Student Musicale club safe.

The Board will discuss training for our members at the January 8th meeting. A mandatory training session for everyone who volunteers with our children will take place on Saturday, January 20th, 10 AM – 2 PM, at the FIM, hosted by Tenesa Thompson, Flint’s Children’s Advocate. I will send out a link to a training video for anyone who cannot attend in person.

– Jean Weamer


The St. Cecilia Student Musicale is a performance club made up of students from 1st through 12th grades. Students meet monthly from October to April on the first Sunday of the month, 2 PM – 3 PM, in the MacArthur Recital Hall. On average, there are 10 performers each month. This 2023-2024 season, we have 46 members. At November’s meeting, the guests were students and faculty of the Ballet Folklorico Estudiantil. At the December meeting, Steven Prevett, FSPA instructor, performed on the banjo and two sizes of mandolins. At each meeting, students have the opportunity to enter a free drawing to win two (2) tickets to the next upcoming Flint Symphony concert at Whiting Auditorium.

– Alesia Byrd Johnson

Personal footnote from the newsletter editor: I attended the December program and was bowled over by the high quality of the student performances. I urge St. Cecilia adult members to attend these programs and suggest that we should all support these budding young musicians through our attendance. These young performers are the FUTURE of our organization.


All St. Cecilia members are strongly urged to consider becoming committee members. We need volunteers to join the Nominating Committee, which this year must seek candidates for board positions including President and Second Vice President. We are also looking for volunteers to serve on a Grant Request Committee. There are many organizations that award grants to deserving groups such as the St. Cecilia Society.

We need your input as to how we may receive grant funds. We will also be needing volunteers for the upcoming Byrd Competition, scheduled for Saturday, March 2nd (see below for more info).


This year’s event will be the 52nd Young Artist Competition since it was established in 1971. This contest, which will feature accomplished pianists, will take place at the FIM on Saturday, March 2, 2024, with a first round to be held during the day and a final round at 7 PM in the MacArthur Recital Hall. The auditions and finals are open to the public. Audition times will be posted on the Byrd Competition Facebook. Please come!

There is a Byrd Dinner at 5:30 PM in the Atrium which you are welcome to attend. The cost is $30.00 per person and reservations should be made at least one week ahead of the competition. If you wish to attend, please send a check payable to: 

St. Cecilia Society, c/o Elizabeth Cummins, 2566 Nolen Drive, Flint, MI 48504

A reception, free and open to all attendees, will follow the finals in the Anderson room. 

We still need volunteers to help at least a few hours on the day of the competition. If you would agree to assist, it would be greatly appreciated. Contact Carol Hinterman at either or (810) 964-9399.

The 2023 Byrd winner, Antona Yost, mezzo-soprano, will perform with the FSO on Saturday, February 17, 2024. Ms. Yost is also planning a free masterclass that will take place on Thursday, February 15th in the Anderson Room at the FIM. All are welcome to observe. Please support our event!

– Carol Hinterman, Byrd Competition chairman


The Society lost one of its most revered members this past year with the death of Ruth Gaviglio (1927-2023.) Ruth, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, will be long remembered as a sustaining member of SCS. She was a longtime member of the choir at Court St. United Methodist Church. Ruth was also a soloist with the choir and performed many outstanding works with the choir and the Madrigal Singers.

St. Cecilia Society is a member of the National and Michigan Federation of Music Clubs. For information, contact

Michigan Federation of Music Clubs