The History of IFRM
The International Fellowship of Rotarian Musicians (IFRM) began in 1972 to "promote and encourage the use and appreciation of music in Rotary Clubs by Rotarians in our society and, thereby, to encourage world understanding." It received "not for profit" status in July 1985 and was incorporated in California (USA) in 2004. In 2007, IFRM, Inc. was formed as a 501c3 Foundation in order to accept tax-deductible gifts from USA donors and to fund projects to promote music literacy throughout the world.
The Rotary Music Fellowship was chartered in New Mexico in 1972 by PDG Jim Whited (D-5470). The IFRM Music Notes, the RI Presidential Themes songs for each new RI Presidential year, and the IFRM Trust Fund all have their origins during Jim's tenure.
In 1987, composer and music educator, Chairman Phil Turner of Massachusetts (D-7910) expanded Jim's vision. By recruiting members at RI conventions and enlisting at least one member from each district in the USA, the membership exceeded 1000 musicians. Adding to Phil's legacy is that he personally composed RI's Presidential theme songs for five years (1988-1993).
Violinist Bob Corning (D-5450) assumed the Chairmanship in 1993 after his successful editorship of the newsletter. Under his leadership, membership expanded to 1500, the Trust Fund was generously enriched, and IFRM members expanded their presence at the International Conventions. Not only did they serve as guest artists, strolling musicians and Interfaith choir performers, but notably and in Calgary in 1996, they hosted the first ever Music Fellowship Banquet, Dance and Stage Show where the entertainers were IFRM members themselves.
The Fellowship was then co-chaired by Lt. Col. Harold "Andy" Anderson and William Reinhardt. Chungsam Doh chaired from 2000 to 2005 and was followed by Dr. Susan DuPree, 2005 to 2010. Under Susan's leadership, the IFRM Foundation was established (2007), music literacy projects around the world were funded by IFRM grants, and IFRM became more interactive with the Yahoo Mail List and the member photo gallery.
Global Chair Lee Denlinger, elected in 2010, initiated the publication of the monthly e-bulletin, Staccato, and expanded the number of vice-chair positions in order to better serve IFRM members in the Rotary world. The Board of Directors was expended to 17 Directors, of which 15 positions are filled. Additionally, Vice-Chairs identified Country Chairs in order to coordinate activities within their area and communicate with IFRM members in their primary language.