The Ladies Musical Club, the oldest musical club in Seattle, marks its 125th anniversary with a party at the Museum of History & Industry on Thursday, July 7.

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Seattle’s rich history of music goes far beyond indie rock and grunge. The Ladies Musical Club, the city’s oldest musical organization, turned 125 earlier this year and is ringing in the occasion with a birthday party at the Museum of History & Industry, which houses the group’s historical archives.

The club was founded in March 1891 by 22 women who were classically trained musicians. Back then, women largely weren’t able to pursue careers as professional musicians, so the LMC provided a creative outlet for female musicians. Today, the LMC has grown into a nonprofit organization, with a mission to “foster classical music in the community through education, performance and award.” It has about 150 members.

“We’re constantly looking to retool, and look at the needs of our community, and find ways to reinvent ourselves so that we continue to have strong and positive impacts on our community,” said Lynn Muehleisen, president of the musical club.

Ladies Musical Club birthday celebration

5-7 p.m. (concerts at 5 and 6:30) Thursday, July 7, Museum of History & Industry, Naval Reserve Armory, 860 Terry Ave. N, free ((206-324-1126 or

In the 1900s, the LMC paid for internationally renowned classical musicians to come to Seattle and helped fundraise for the war effort in both World Wars, according to Muehleisen.

In recent years, the Ladies Musical Club has organized free public concerts and supported music programs in elementary and middle schools. It is at work on programs to introduce music into women’s correctional facilities and homeless shelters.

But just as important as the club’s community impact is the relationships its members form.

“There’s a very strange intimacy that comes with making art with another person,” said Lesley Chapin, LMC’s recording secretary. “The opportunity to make good art and to work with other people who are serious about virtuosity and are emotionally supportive … has been enormously rewarding to me and the Ladies Musical Club.”

In fact, it was Chapin who introduced Muehleisen to the club back in 1994.

“Some of the most important relationships in my life have been through this organization,” Muehleisen said.