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Music fans met Fridays

The club by that name began in 1902 and later brought famous musicians to town.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 5, 2002

It sounds like an event thrown by proper Southern ladies in gloves and hats, not a building. And then, upon arriving, you see that the building actually says "Friday Morning Musicale and Federate Clubs." So what's correct?

Just about all of that.

What can be confusing is that the club and the building are one and the same. The club was formed in 1902 as a women's-only classical music enthusiasts' group. They met every other Friday -- hence the name -- at the Twiggs Street home of Kate Ferris. Before long, the club had enough clout to bring famous musicians such as violinist Hulda Kreher and singer Madame Marc Ella Sembrich to town. Why, even men were allowed to join.

After World War I, the club's building at 809 Horatio St. was erected, largely financed by war bonds bought by the members. In 1920, the Musicale merged with the Hillsborough County Federation of Women's Clubs, and the building's moniker was changed to its current state to reflect the union.

It continues to host music, dance, and community events.

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