The Morgan County Concert Association is celebrating over sixty years of service to local music lovers.
The concept of community-based concert associations actually developed in the 1920s. Whereas larger cities could guarantee audiences large enough to pay the performers, smaller towns and mid-sized cities took a chance that poor weather or other factors might cause financial risk to the organizers. Meanwhile, artists desired to perform regularly between engagements in the larger cities.
These two needs were met in 1922 by a young musician, Ward French, who developed an innovative plan. Local volunteers would pre-sell the concert season during a weeklong campaign and then engage artists whom they could afford. The idea was so successful that in 1928 Columbia Concerts Corporation (later Columbia Artists Management, Inc.) began helping local communities develop their own associations. A representative from Columbia would meet with local board members, offering a variety of performers. The local group selected a tentative roster for the coming season, but contracts weren’t signed until season memberships had been sold. Such well-known groups as the original Trapp Family Singers of Sound of Music fame were listed with Columbia.
The stated mission of Community Concerts was “. . . to offer the opportunity to every man, woman, and child in America to experience the magic of live performances by bringing artists and audiences together.” Every community could have its own Carnegie Hall.
Sometime in the 1950’s a visionary group of community leaders in Morgan County, Colorado sought to enhance the musical offerings available to local music lovers by bringing in professional musicians for live performances. After several seasons, the group disbanded.
Then on June 27, 1966 several prominent citizens met to revive the Morgan County Community Concert Association. Five hundred seventy-one adult memberships were sold that first season, along with 241 student memberships.
Through the years over 200 live performances have been sponsored by MCCA including instrumental and vocal groups performing jazz, classical, country, folk, and nostalgia selections. In addition, MCCA has hosted variety groups such as Irish step dancers, Chinese acrobats, magic shows, and many more.
In an effort to accommodate guest pianists, MCCA partnered with the local high school to purchase a nine-foot Steinway concert grand piano - an example of public-private partnership at its best.
In 1993, as the cost of hiring musicians continued to climb, long-time board member Don Price recommended starting the Patron Program. This allowed local individuals and businesses to sponsor MCCA at various levels. Approximately one-third of the annual budget is contributed by these community-minded businesses and individuals. Due to their generosity, the price for individual and family tickets has remained one of the lowest in the region. All money from donations, sponsorships, and ticket sales goes directly toward the cost of producing the events. All board members and campaign workers serve as volunteers.
In 1997, the association engaged Allied Concert Services as its primary booking agent. This change has allowed the board to hire artists both from Allied and to seek other talented groups such as the Trapp Family Children, The Queen City Jazz Band, Denver Brass, and Sound of the Rockies Barbershop Chorus.
The association is still going strong and looks forward to bringing live professional performances to the people of Morgan County and surrounding areas for many years to come.