Sutton Valence Music Society was founded in 1973. It was registered as a charity (no.1002000) in 1990 with the stated object being to educate the public in the arts and sciences, and in particular the art and science of music, by the presentation of concerts and other activities.
Hon. member Margaret Horn writes (2008):- In 1973, the Sutton Valence Music Society was founded as an extension of the school music, which occasionally put on professional concerts for the pupils and parents. It was decided to create a formal music society with a committee, composed of the Headmaster as chairman, the Director of Music, the Bursar, members of staff, two school pupils and two or three parents and friends of the school.
There were four concerts a year, which were chosen by the committee. Membership of the society was charged to the public to pay for the concert performers. Before the *Groves Hall was built, the concerts took place in the school hall.
The harpist Ossian Ellis performed at the inaugural concert, followed by the Ariaga String Quartet, pianist Keith Swallow and the Scholars, a renowned choral group. These were well attended, but the income was rather limited.
Peter Hall, the Bursar, Graham Foulkes, the Director of Music and Richard Horn, the Housemaster of Westminster House decided to raise money for the society by arranging an annual Antiques Fair. Later, this included a Craft Fair. These proved very successful and continued as annual events for many years.
There are six concerts during a winter season from October to March, with additional fund-raising events. The society aims to encourage and support young musicians, particularly those in post-graduate education who have already won major awards.
Members of the Society are those who have paid an annual subscription in advance of the season. Non-members are welcome to all concerts and can buy tickets on the door.
(*The Groves Hall was named in honour of the conductor, Sir Charles Groves, who was a pupil at the school from 1930 to 1932, leaving to continue his music education at the Royal College of Music. He was probably best known for his long tenure 1963 to 1977 - as Musical Director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and as a regular conductor of the Last Night of the Proms. Sir Charles was a frequent visitor to the school and village, bringing other musicians for a day in the country, often including a pub lunch at the Kings Head. He died in 1992.)