The early history of the Oban Music Society is lost in the mists of time but it was soon after the Second World War that a small group of enthusiasts came together to meet other groups from around Scotland to arrange and be included in tours for small chamber groups, usually string quartets. Concerts were held in a variety of venues around Oban, including Christ Church on the Esplanade, Glencruitten Church Centre, Corran Halls and even in the Oban Cinema.
It was not until 1985 that the Society, after a lengthy fundraising appeal raised sufficient funds required to purchase a piano. This was a Steinway Model S, made in 1937, previously belonging to Lady Isla MacCallum of Turvine, Kilchrenan and valued in 1991 by the Arts Council of Scotland at £4000.
The piano was housed in St John’s Cathedral where it has been to this day. Because of the difficulties of moving a grand piano most of the concerts since then have been held in St John’s.
In 1992 the Society was first registered as a charity and the constitution was drawn up under the Chairmanship of Clare MacKinnon. The object of the Society was “ to promote and encourage the study, practice and knowledge of music in Oban and the surrounding district.”
The society has been loyally supported over the past 25 years and concerts regularly held through the winter season. Since the year 2000 the Society has been part of the Argyll and Bute Concert Tours group along with Bute, Cowal, Kintyre, Mid Argyll and Islay. The group has had the advantage of being able to negotiate advanageous fees from visiting artists and has become a very effective and mutually supportive organisation.
In 2016 the Society became increasingly concerned that their piano, now nearly 80 years old was in need of reconditioning, furthermore it was also the opinion of a number of visiting pianist that the instrument was too small for the venue. Over the years the Society had been steadily growing a Piano Fund specifically for this eventuality.
Rather than reconditioning the old piano it
was decided to purchase a larger instrument which had already been reconditioned. This led to a very successful appeal which raised sufficient funds to purchase a Steinway Model B made in 2003.