A SHORT HISTORY of the Associação de Amigos de Música de São Lourenço 1988 – 2022
by Helga Hampton
AAMSL was conceived by Christine Lady Vavasour in the early days of the new Centro Cultural de Sao Lourenco CCSL of Volker and Marie Huber, in support of the cultural ambitions of these two true pioneers in the young Algarve. They had opened their gallery for contemporary art in the shadow of the Church of Sao Lourenco in Almancil in 1981. Then, years later, in March 1991, the Associacao de Amigos de Musica de Sao Lourenco was incorporated as a non-profit members’ organisation with the aim of bringing culture to the developing Algarve. The ardent cultural interest of an ever increasing number of international residents made the Amigo membership grow, and the collaboration between CCSL and AAMSL went from strength to strength. In 1995 Helga Hampton took over the presidency of AAMSL and the statutes were revised to add and incorporate the charitable angle of scholarship of Young Portuguese Musicians. (See: Scholarship on the website)
Over the years the fruitful collaboration of CCSL and AAMSL resulted in bringing many great international musicians to the Algarve for regular monthly concerts. They are invited on a “Play and Stay” basis. This means we invite musicians to spend a week in the Algarve, they can bring a partner or family for which we provide accommodation, we give them a rental car and cover some of their expenses during this holiday. For this we get 2 concerts during their stay with different programmes. This formula has proved to be mutually attractive and many of our artists are keen to return. (Visit our website for detailed information about these international artists.) amigosdemusica.org
The global economic crisis made a victim of CCSL, by then a cultural oasis, and in 2012 Marie Huber, after the death of her husband, Volker, decided to close the gallery. The Amigos de Musica thus lost their venue and it took a year to find a new “home”. After an arduous search we were fortunate to find Os Agostos and be invited by Maria and Antonio Farrajota to use two of the spaces in their beautiful estate for our concerts. Their business, big weddings on weekends, left 2 days during the week for our activities, and with their Team the Farrajotas have been courteous and generous hosts to the Amigos and their artists since September 2015.
There are 18 concerts during a membership year – the hot months of July and August and the cold month of January are activity breaks and not included in regular programming.
Membership is by invitation sent out at the beginning of each new membership year in July.
The membership fee represents the Amigo budget and non-members and guests contribute towards expenses with an entry fee.