The Kathleen Ferrier Society (KFS) was formed to celebrate the life and music of Kathleen Ferrier, one of the world's best loved singers. Her voice and warm personality ensured that she became one of the most celebrated British female singers of the 20th Century. Although her professional career was short, little more than ten years, and she died over half a century ago in 1953, she is still held in high regard today and remembered by many with great love and affection.
The KFS was formed in 1993, to mark the 40th Anniversary of her death. The remarkable strength of interest in the singer was soon evident and today there are over 200 members from all over the world. Kathleen's sister, Winifred, was delighted to become our first President and then in 1996, after Winifred's death, international Soprano Sheila Armstrong (a former Memorial Scholarship winner), was invited to become our second President. Sheila retired at the end of 2012 and our new President is Linda Hirst.
The Society enjoyed a most successful Residential weekend in December 1993 to launch the KFS and commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Kathleen's death. Over 60 members enjoyed a Kathleen Ferrier exhibition at Blackburn Museum, a Kathleen Ferrier Town Trail, a Commemorative Service, talks and films, and were joined by an audience of 1000 to hear a programme of music associated with Kathleen Ferrier performed by Blackburn Music Society. A similar weekend was held in 2003 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of her death and its success led us to the decision to hold annual Mini-Weekends to coincide with the Bursary Competition. Over this weekend in 2008, members were privileged to hear the 2007 Edinburgh Festival presentation, Champagne with Kathleen Ferrier, given by its writer, Paul Campion, and Elayne Sharling. This was followed by champagne and a chance to view the exhibition of Ronald Webb's Paintings to the Music of Kathleen Ferrier, displayed at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery and also a small Ferrier exhibition. We then continued with our events at the Museum with a wonderful recital by Oliver Clarke, Joyce Budd Second Prize Winner in the 2007 Bursary Competition.
Winifred Ferrier had collected press cuttings, photographs and recordings relating to the life and career of her beloved sister, which together with Kathleen's letters and diaries form a fascinating archive. Following Winifred's death in 1995, the archive was given to the Society which we entrusted to the Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, where it is now held. Since its formation the KFS has also been given many donations of memorabilia which are also deposited in the archive.
If the reader has any questions about Kathleen, her life and career please do not hesitate to contact us.