Community Concerts — Bringing Artists and Audiences Together
The principle behind the successful Community Concert idea was to raise funds first and then bring artists to the audience. This would secure a season of performances, with the audience already in place. When this idea was implemented in 1927, it was unique and also very successful, and eventually became “Community Concerts.” This association fostered the idea that any one, in any town, could enjoy entertainment, that was previously only available to persons living in large cities, and this led to more appreciation of the performing arts throughout the country.
Over the years, this subscription membership plan drew many imitators, but none were as successful as Community Concerts. Even in the years of the Great Depression, associations continued to grow—in 1929 there were 42 Community Concert Associations and by 1940, there were 355. For almost sixty years, Columbia Artists Management, Inc., which had a large roster of artists and attractions, provided great artists to the stage in towns, all over the United States.
In 1943, after several years of consideration by the Roseburg community, a Community Concert Association was formed, a board of directors chosen, and Gladys Strong, a local music teacher and ardent supporter of the Community Concert idea, was selected president.
As they say: “the rest is history!”
Since the first season in 1944, 70 seasons have come and gone. The roll call of performers would number well over 300, and the names include: Todd Duncan of “Porgy & Bess “ fame; Dorothy Warenskjold and Leontyne Price of the Metropolitan Opera; Vienna Boys’ Choir; Shanghai Acrobats; The Brothers Four; plus a number of stage plays and orchestras.
The Roseburg Community Concert Association now books its performers through “Live on Stage”, an artists’ management company from Nashville, TN. But the subscription membership system continues in place and members of the Association know that buying a season ticket assures them that each year they can continue to enjoy musical entertainment of the highest quality.
RCCA Board Members, 2019-2020