Gene Krupa Band and salute to Frank Sinatra is final concert - May 24, 2006
Bay Area Concert Association Legacy
After 71 years, Concert Associations passes baton to Bay Music Foundation
October 21, 2006
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By: Stephen Kent
It was 1935 when a group of civic minded music lovers decided to start a concert series in Bay City. Calling themselves the Bay Area Concert Association, the group began a 71 year tradition of bringing top level entertainment to Bay City. Orchestras, big bands, top singers, ballets, and performing groups graced the stage of Central High School.
At its height, the organization had a membership of over 1,100 members. It was a privilege to be a member and there was a waiting list to join. Some years later the Association created a family membership and at one point had over 100 such a memberships.
Over the years the group hosted the symphony orchestras from St. Louis, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Toronto. Stars like Guy Lombardo, Glen Miller, Nelson Riddle and their contemporaries came to Bay City. The National Folk Ballet of Yugoslavia came. So did the Chinese Golden Dragon acrobatic troop.
In the last decade the entertainment world changed. People no longer came out in large numbers to enjoy live entertainment and orchestras. Membership began a long decline. In the last year there were only 12 family memberships where once there had been 100.
After much discussion, the remaining members of the Concert Association made the decision to close. "Times are different" said president Juanita Anderson. "We just couldn't afford it any more. It was time to move on."
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In May of 2006 the Association put on their final show featuring the Gene Krupa band and a tribute to Frank Sinatra. The Central High auditorium was almost filled. "If all the concerts had that audience we could have kept going" said Anderson.
Following the last concert the Association had a balance of funds in the bank. They searched for a way to use those funds to the benefit of the community and in keeping with the Association's tradition of great music. The solution was to donate the entire balance to the Bay Music Foundation where it could be used to provide music study scholarships to young musicians in the Bay Area.
The Bay Music Foundation has almost as long a tradition as the Concert Association. For over 50 years the Foundation has held an annual competition and awarded summer study scholarships to the winners. In recent years the Foundation has expanded its reach by offering master classes, workshops and competition preparation seminars.
The Bay Music Foundation faces some of the same challenges that the Concert Association faced. Cost of summer study and music camps have grown significantly since the Foundation began giving scholarships. Being supported almost entirely by donations, funds are always tight. The generous gift from the Bay Area Concert Association is a legacy that will help insure that talented young people continue to have an opportunity to study and perform in the Bay Area.
The 2007 Competition will be held on February 10th, 2007.
For more information visit
2006 Bay Music Foundation Scholarship Winners
Arts/Theater Article 1327
Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 30 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.
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