Furness Music Centre was originally established by Dowdales School in 2002 as part of it's community outreach as a Performing Arts School. Established by Anastasia Micklethwaite with the sponsorship of the Head Teacher, Liz Moffat, Furness Music Centre began as a Community Orchestra and Community Choir, growing from a small number of people to a capable orchestra and choir giving three performances a year in the school hall. Soon after being founded, Furness Music Centre also starting organising a summer tour in the final week of the school term, with visits to locations within the UK, Austria and France.
In 2005, an associated charity - The Friends of Furness Music Centre was formed to raise funds to support the work of the music centre. The charity then stepped in to continue the work of Furness Music Centre when support from Dowdales School ceased in 2011. The charity recruited additional trustees and appointed a Director of Music, Richard Bagnall and a Choral Director, Liz Wiejak, plus a number of music tutors.
From the outset, Furness Music Centre was supported by the County Music Service, and this support has now transitioned to the current arrangements for the provision of government funding for young people engaging in music via Cumbria Music Hub.
In 2017, two of our members established FMCjuniors - initially an after-school club to encourage primary-age children to learn orchestral instruments. Now, in addition to the after-school club meeting on Tuesday evenings in Ulverston, FMCjuniors provides affordable small group tuition in two primary schools in Ulverston with a total of more than forty children learning to play instruments.
Furness Music Centre continues to grow, both in membership and in capability. It continues to maintain its original community spirit with everyone being welcome, whatever their age, music ability or financial position