The GMS was founded by Mr. Alwyn Burger, a local auditor, in 1956. Martha Avierinos, has been a member since 1984 and chair of the GMS during 1997-2001, and again from 2005 - 2010. Martha writes in an article celebrating the 50th anniversary of the GMS in May 2006, about its history in the music magazine, Musicus, Vol 35.2,(2007). She recalls other members who initiated the GMS with Mr. Burger. They were Mrs. Malan, Mrs. Rita Heydenrych, Ms. Emma van Heerden and a young music teacher, Mrs. Anna du Toit.
Martha mentions several people who chaired the GMS over the past centuries, such as Mr.H. Oosthuizen (principal), Mrs. Elaine Buchner (hospital Matron), Mr. Gerrie Brits (S.A. Breweries), Mrs. Karen Temmingh (teacher) and Mr. Ian Alder (builder). The current chairperson, Mr. Peter Mundell has directed the GMS since 2010.
Martha proudly reflects that the founders were appreciative of good music and even though they started small by presenting house concerts for George and vicinity, the high quality and standard of music were established from early on. They also presented a variety of genres, such as classical music, chamber music, and jazz through local, national and international artists who represented instrumental, vocal, ensembles, choral and orchestral varieties.
Some of the performances of the early artists were recalled by Emma van Heerden and Anna du Toit. They included Jonty Solomon, The Vienna Boys’ Choir, The Itoki Male Group, Rudi Neitz (bass), Aneen Leeuwner (soprano), as well as George’s own Manuel Villet (piano). Villet furthered his studies in England and started his musical career there. George even honoured Villet by naming a street after him.
The GMS further invited many more artists, a few of whom are mentioned below: The Red Army Ensemble, Tessa Uys, Bosch Troubadours, Aviva Pelham, Olivier de Groote, Eva Tamassy, Lamar Crowson, George Zuckerman, Pieter Schoeman, Paris Opera Boys Choir, Isolde Traut, Jurgen Schwietering, A Few Good Men, Odeon Strykkwartet, Cape Town’s Three Tenors, Suren Bagratuni, Petronel Malan, Clint van der Linde, Nina Schumann, Francois du Toit, Sarah Oates, Zoë Beyers, Brass Quintet, Le Grande Celli, Anmari van der Westhuizen, Marija Bajalika, Camerata Ensemble, Jan Gottlieb Jiracek, Sanet Allen, Daniel Ben Pienaar, Spencer Myer and Carlo Guaitoli.
The GMS has always aimed to build active appreciation and support of local talent. George was honored by performances of Professional South-African artists, to mention a few: Dalene Brits (née Steenkamp, pianist), Olive Sandilands (née Coetzee, pianist), Roelof Temmingh (organ), Ronel van Aswegen (piano), Alma Oosthuizen (vocal) and Elisabeth Potgieter (vocal).
One of the aims of the GMS is to create awareness, music appreciation and participation of the younger generation through the concerts. With this in mind, Anna du Toit encouraged Martha Avierinos to initiate the Young Musician’s Competition 1985.
The Young Musician’s Gala Concert has became one of the most cerebrated events of our annual concerts. The competition has contributed to the high standards that have been acheived by George music pupils over the years, and has resulted in several music students from George becoming professional artists, for example Clint van der Linde (contra tenor), Margaux Lamont (piano), Ammiel Bushakevitz (piano) and Avigail Bushakevitz (violin).
Anna du Toit created a further opportunity for young developing musicians, by donating two trophies for Ensembles participating in the Young Musicians. This created an opportunity for inexperienced musicians to relieve nerves by combining skills, while performing in front of an audience.