If music is food for the soul, a Carthage group does not go hungry.

If music is food for the soul, a Carthage group does not go hungry.

The Carthage chapter of the national Musical Devotees is gearing up for plenty of musical events to finish 2012 on a strong note. The group was established by Miriam Putnam and Helen Spradling in 1928 as the Carthage Music Club. In 1980, the club joined the national affiliation of music lovers, with the Missouri Federation of Music Club, as the Musical Devotees of Carthage. Today, the tradition carries on with Helen's daughter, Ida Ruth Locarni, as the president of the club.

“The arts have suffered so much in recent years and it's important to have music because it makes you happy,” Locarni said. “The whole world is in such a upheaval – we need music. The world would be sad without it … It ties us together because music is an international beauty. If politicians could do the same we wouldn't be in such turmoil.”

With 45 in the group, Carthage came in second to Kansas City as the largest chapter in the state of Missouri at the annual MFMC Convention. The group gives scholarships to local outstanding musicians and singers and has sent students to Inspiration Point in Eureka Springs, Ark. Locarni expressed a humble pride in her group, and said this year's members are extraordinary.

“I have a very strong committee,” she said. “Everyone works together to give the community quality performances. You must have a good group of people and that's why I'm so grateful.”

The Musical Devotees meet at the Grace Episcopal Church. At every monthly meeting, there is a performance at the church. The next meeting is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9 at the church, and will welcome the Ultra Sound Barber Shop Quartet.

At 3 p.m. Oct. 14, the Pittsburg State University music department will perform at the Grace Episcopal Church, which Locarni said will be a good reflection of local talent and support.

An organ concert is set for 3 p.m. Nov. 11 at the Faith Lutheran Church. Performers will be Keith Garber, Dr. Mary Anne Andrews and Sara Buelow.
This year's Christmas performance will feature Missouri Southern State University's Choral group at 3 p.m., at the Grace Episcopal Church.
Locarni said a highly-anticipated event will be the performance set for April 7, 2013. Tom Hilton will visit Carthage from Kansas City to bring George Grishum music.

The performances are free and open to the public. To join the group, dues are $15 a year. For more information about the Musical Devotees or performances, call Locarni at 358-4188, or Anita Flanigan at 358-2729.

The Missouri Federation of Music Clubs are dedicated to the purpose of encouraging music education, an appreciation of the arts, and fostering a musical environment in our communities through the sponsorship of musical events and competitions, and by providing performing opportunities for talented and deserving young people. MFMC has 21 senior clubs, 15 collegiate / student clubs, and 138 junior clubs.