© 2023 Eastwood Uniting Church Musical Society Inc.
At the start of the 1960s a number of successful productions were mounted by the Eastwood Methodist Youth Fellowship at the Eastwood Methodist Church. Building on the enthusiasm of these productions, members of the church who were past youth club age approached the Rev Robert A. Bell, Minister at the time, seeking permission to form a musical society affiliated with the church.
A musical society associated with the church was, in those days, somewhat unusual, but supported by Rev Bell and his wife Gwen, and the Circuit Stewards, Jack Kefford and Bill Southwell, the Eastwood Methodist Musical Society (EMMS) was born in 1962. In 1973, its 10th anniversary year, EMMS received official recognition as a Methodist Church organisation. In 1977, following Church Union, the Society changed its name to the Eastwood Uniting Church Musical Society (EUCMS) and became the Eastwood Uniting Church Musical Society Incorporated in 1997.
In late 1962 several meetings were held at which anyone interested in participating was enthusiastically welcomed. Thus from the very beginning the Society encompassed a wider membership than the Eastwood Methodist Church. The Society’s aims, incorporated in its Constitution, were to present musical and dramatic works, to donate profits to charities and to provide an avenue into the church.
The first production in 1963 was “The Gipsy Baron” and in the fifty years since, 64 different shows have been staged, some as many as four times. Other than the very early years and 2009, when one show each year was performed, the Society has performed two shows each year a total of 96 productions.
The Society has had a number of “firsts” in its time: in 1975 EMMS was the first amateur musical society to be invited to stage a performance in the Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House and in the same year performed the Sydney premiere of “Viva Mexico”. In 1996 EUCMS staged the NSW amateur premiere of “Pride & Prejudice”. In 1992 “Caroline” was performed in conjunction with the Ryde Bicentenary Celebrations.
Since its inception, the Society has arranged and conducted numerous Annual Church Services and Christmas Services, including many religious dramas and, in addition, has entertained many residents of nursing homes and retirement villages. The mid-
Many charitable organisations, nominated by members, have received donations totalling in excess of $350,000. The Society’s main assistance has always been reserved for the Eastwood Christian Community Aid Service, which has received almost $90,000 of that sum. In addition to these direct donations, until the early 1980s the majority of performances were held at places other than Eastwood for the benefit of outside charities, which received all profits from ticket sales for their own causes.
Today, the Society continues this avenue of indirect donations by offering charity groups the opportunity to sell tickets on their own behalf and thus raise money for their own special projects.
EUCMS has enjoyed the reputation for many years of being one of the best organised and smoothly run amateur theatrical societies in Sydney, and this is undoubtedly due to the dedication and loyalty of its members at all levels over the past 50 years and beyond.
With the continuing support of the Eastwood Uniting Church, audiences and members, the Society cannot fail to prosper in the years ahead.
President: CAROLINE REDDEL
Vice President: PENNY WILSON
General Secretary: MEGAN WILLIS
Treasurer: KAREN SINCLAIR
Business Secretary: BELINDA BONGERS
Property Officer: KAREN SWANCOTT
Executive Floor Members: CATHY BULFIN, JAMES OGG, JOSH WOODWARD and ADAM WILSON
Current Director: KATH SHARPHAM