Agnes Duncan “flies the flag” for Scottish Choral Music as Soroptimist International celebrates its Centenary.
We are delighted to learn that Agnes Duncan is one of 100 Inspirational former, and current, Soroptimists who have been chosen to showcase Soroptimist International’s 100th Anniversary celebration project – #WhoIsShe?.
Agnes’s life in choral music started when she was just 10 years old and continued until she was in her 90s. She was a member of the Glasgow Orpheus Choir and her beautiful contralto voice earned her solo performances with all the major contemporary Scottish Choirs.
In 1943, at a time when female conductors were a rarity, and with limited resources, she founded the Scottish Junior Singers Choir which, under her guidance, became recognized as the best Junior Choir in the U.K. and provided choruses for Scottish Opera and the Scottish National Orchestra.
Agnes loved Music Festivals and after retiring from Choral conducting, she concentrated on Adjudicating and was much in demand in this capacity at Festivals and Mods around the U.K. She attended virtually every Glasgow Music Festival from its inception in 1911 until the 1990s, filling roles ranging from performer to Honorary President.
In 1967, she was awarded an M.B.E. for her services to music and in 1992, in recognition of her contribution to the Festivals Movement, she was selected to make a presentation to Her Majesty the Queen on behalf of the British Music Festivals Association.
Agnes was a long-standing member of the Glasgow Central Soroptimist Club (SI Glasgow Central) and, on her 90th birthday, the Club acknowledged her life-long involvement in the Glasgow Music Festival by presenting the Agnes Duncan Trophy to the Festival. In 2005 SI Glasgow Central merged with other Glasgow Soroptimist Clubs to form SI Glasgow City, which now gifts the Trophy, and a cheque for £100, annually, to the winner of an under 18s vocal soloist competition held on the last night of the Festival. Her name therefore continues to be associated with excellence in singing.
Throughout her life in music, Agnes worked to ensure that singers were the best they could be, very much in keeping with the Mission of Soroptimist International. Her selection as one of the 100 Soroptimists for #WhoIsShe is a recognition of this and the substantial mark she made on British music. Her legacy lives on in the countless young people in whom she inspired a love of music, some of whom later enjoyed successful careers in the field.
Agnes Duncan died aged 97.
For further information about Soroptimist International, please visit www.sigbi.org and for Soroptimist International Glasgow City, please visit www.sigbi.org/glasgow-city and www.facebook.com/sigbi.glasgowcity.