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History Night’s final Wednesday of the season is on Ely Music and Drama Club’s centennial

It’s the centennial year for the Ely Music and Drama Club!

The Ely-Winton Historical Society’s final history night this summer highlights decades of learning, laughter and support of the arts.

With a century of community-focused programming, connections abound, and the stories are many.

Jodi Martin will share information about the club and the 100-year celebration. Kathy Farion will discuss the history and importance of the club in Ely.

In the 1920s, popular past times were baseball, movies (it was still the silent film era) and attending plays and concerts.

Despite a radio broadcasting boom, only one percent of American households owned a radio receiver in 1923. Ely tapped the energy and talent of its populace and the Music and Drama Club was founded.

It originated as a study group to explore music and dramas of all varieties and from all cultures. The first members often created their own productions and promoting and supporting the arts in Ely became a central theme. The club, across four decades, has annually recognized an individual, and their impact on creative arts endeavors, with a Community Service Award.

Proving that the performing arts have ripples beyond whatever music we hear and whichever production we attend, more than 160 students have received scholarships through the Zella Richter Scholarship fund.

Supporting the next generation is a deeply embedded value for the Club. A beloved teacher for 21 years in the Ely schools, Richter was a charter member of the Music and Drama Club and was well-known for the positive impact she had on her students.

History Night will be Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Lecture Hall of the Minnesota North College Vermilion Campus (VCC) and is free to the public.


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