Society’s swansong after almost 50 years

The society's committee, life members and friends are pictured at last week's cheque presentation.'Gable End Photography
The society's committee, life members and friends are pictured at last week's cheque presentation.'Gable End Photography

A LOCAL musical institution has folded just short of its 50th year of treading the boards.

Last year’s Montrose Amateur Operatic Society (MAOS) production of ‘Smokey Joe’s Cafe’ turned out to be the group’s swansong, as the decision was taken recently to close down and donate outstanding funds to charity.

President Sandy Kennedy said there had been “many different factors” which had played a part in the society’s demise after almost half-a-century of entertaining the Montrose public.

He said: “I’ve been a member of amateur musical societies for the last 32 years but for the last seven or eight years I am proud to say I was part of a society that had its roots in the community, as it was the only amateur operatic society in Montrose.

“You could say unknown to its members in the very beginning it was the start of something big. If you look at Montrose now you will understand what it created by bringing together a group of people who wanted to perform on an amateur stage and enjoy a hobby that to this day hundreds of thousands of people have seen with their own eyes, and have gone home happy in the knowledge that their grandmother, grandfather, mother, father, brother, sister and so on have sung, danced, worked on stagecrew ,make-up, hair, front of house and many other jobs that create an amateur stage show and given you a night to remember.

“Sadly due to many different factors beyond our control it was time to close its doors.”

There have been amateur operatic groups in Montrose since the 1930s, when two rival societies were established, but they fell into abeyance during the war years. In the early 1960s amateur theatre underwent a revival in the town and the new operatic society was born. Since then it has brought many of the best-known musicals to the local stage.

The society marked its closure last week with a gathering of its committee, life members and friends to present cheques to eight different charities.