The Whangarei Music Society is starting 2018 with an SOS - it needs new members, particularly younger members.

The society kicks off its 2018 season with a concert by the acclaimed all-women Behn Quartet at the Old Library, Whangarei, from 2.30pm on Sunday.

President Lois William said the society brings New Zealand and overseas artists to Whangarei in association with Chamber Music NZ, but it urgently needs new members if it is to survive and continue to bring great music to the city.

Ms Williams said the society was beginning the year with just a handful of members.


"The number tends to increase as our season begins, but right now we have a very short list of subscribers; a modest bank balance and a rather anxious new treasurer," she said.

Long-serving secretary Shonah Scott retired at the society's AGM last month and Neil Mitchell had picked up the challenge, Ms Williams said.

"It's always a bit nerve-wracking at this time of year, knowing we have top artists booked, when people are just getting round to re-joining," she said.

"While we do have door sales as well, I'm making a plea for all our old members to rejoin as soon as possible, and for anyone who values good music to buy a season subscription, if they possibly can."

Ms Williams said one of the issues was that the society's members were generally older members of society and she would love some new "younger" blood to join up to ensure its survival.

"People really appreciate and enjoy good music and we provide it live and in person from some top class performers from here and overseas," she said.

"It's really a unique chance to see such great classical music and performers right here in Whangarei."

She said some people considered classical music boring, but that was far from the truth.


"It can be beautiful and uplifting, and very lively and exciting."

Several years ago, the society raised the funds to buy a small grand piano for the Old Library, where it presents most of its concerts, on Sunday afternoons.

The Behn Quartet, who play on Sunday, is named for the trailblazing 17th-century writer Aphra Behn – who inspired countless women in the arts.

Winners of the Orlando International Chamber Music Competition 2017, the Behn Quartet also holds the CAVATINA Chamber Music Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music.

To find out more about this year's concerts, or to join the Whangarei Music society, contact Treasurer Neil Mitchell or check out the Society's Facebook page.