Elmar's '50 Musical Years'

Inverclyde House was the splendid setting recently for a very special night in the life of Largs Amateur Operatic Society.

Over 100 guests, members past and present, patrons and friends – some from as far afield as Aberdeen and London – gathered to pay tribute to the outstanding service given to the club by their musical director Elmar Kennedy over the past 50 years.

Amateur groups have never been renowned for awarding leading roles to newcomers, but such was the professional standard of Elmar's singing that she became leading lady immediately on joining in 1959, and sang many principal soprano parts over the next 22 years.

The Largs and Millport Weekly News review of ‘The Desert Song' dated 20 April 1962 stated: “Elmar Kennedy, who has been so fine an asset to Largs, played the romantic Margot with grace and conviction. Her lovely singing with its purity of phrasing was a delight and her musical activity shone through from first to last.”

Having been told that she was attending a special wedding anniversary, it tooh Elmar some time to get over the shock of realising that the evening at Inverclyde was in her honour.

The entertainment got under way with a selection of songs from ‘The Merry Widow' – a fitting choice as this was her first show as a performer and also her most recent show earlier this year as musical director.

Former leading men, Sandy Forman, Jim Laurie and Joe McGinty, who all played opposite Elmar on stage, sang songs from the appropriate shows, and club members reprised many of the shows from the past 50 years.

Elmar swapped her on stage career for the musical director's baton in 1981, a role she has performed with distinction ever since.

A verbal tribute was delivered by club president Janine Millward and Iain Gray, of the National Operatic and Dramatic Association, awarded Elmar the prestigious 50 year medal – a special award only given to those who, every year, have made a significant contribution to club or society.

Musical accompaniment (and secret rehearsals) was provided by Judith McNaught and a wonderful evening was rounded off with some lusty community singing.

The Society would like to thank Inverclyde for a superb venue and an excellent buffet.
Elmar has already embarked on her second 50 year stint as she is already conducting musical rehearsals for the club's next production – ‘Fiddler on the Roof' – which will take place in Barrfields at the end of March.

Anyone interested in taking part is asked to head along to Clark Memorial Church Hall on Monday evenings at 7.30pm where a warm welcome is assured.


Elmar Kennedy is congratulated on her 50 years with Largs Amateur Operatic Society, and receives a special medal from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association's Iain Gray.
Click here for photos of Elmar's Special Occasion