Way back in 1980, a small group of local residents who love classical music and who were tired of driving to Toronto to hear classical music decided to form a classical music organization and the Concert Association of Huntsville was born. But now, with audiences declining, they’ve decided that it’s time to take a bow.
“It’s been 35 years of absolutely exquisite music featuring Canadian musicians who are renowned around the world,” said the association’s president Martina Schroer.
It was a great run and they have much to celebrate, she added. “Every season has been a highlight. Our board has been fantastic, in particular Justine McDonnell who is the only founding member still with the board. She has always believed in it, we all have.”
Schroer appreciates the passion the musicians have brought to our small town. “These are world-class performers, exquisite musicians. The fact that they are willing to come to a rural community like ours is special. They are doing it for the passion. We are incredibly blessed to have them come to our small community and bring fantastic music and teach master classes (to local students).”
She said the association’s board is like a family, often serving homemade soup for the musicians, and is a large part of why the musicians loved coming here.
Schroer also thanked their many patrons and sponsors over the years for their support. “We have had good support from the community and from the Ontario Arts Council, which helped with our youth mandate to allow them to come to concerts free of charge and to promote music education. They are tomorrow’s performers and audience members.”
During its final few years, the Concert Association of Huntsville also provided bursaries to local students.
With competing sources of entertainment both locally and online, Schroer says it’s been increasingly difficult to get people to attend a concert. “They have many choices now, but there’s nothing like live music. This was the longest running concert association in Huntsville’s history and losing it is losing part of our culture. We believe in the importance of (classical music) in society but there comes a time when we have to say we can’t do it anymore. Hopefully someone will try something like it again at a later date.”
She noted that since January 2016, four other similar organizations have folded across Ontario.
For their final concert, which had to be postponed from April 24 to May 1, the association will present the father-daughter duo of tenor Richard Margison and soprano Lauren Margison.
Here’s what the association has to say about the pair: Hailed for his ringing top notes and spine-tingling power Canadian tenor Richard Margison is one of the most critically acclaimed singers on the international stage today. Soprano Lauren Margison has performed extensively both in Canada and internationally garnering countless accolades for her exceptional performances. This amazing father and daughter duo offers a magnificent program featuring jazz, pop and opera repertoire.
“It may be the end of an era,” said Schroer, “but our final concert is going to be a celebration of 35 years of excellent music and we are trying really hard not to be sad.”
Tickets are available at Becker’s Shoes at the mall or at the door. Youth 18 years and younger get free admission. For information or questions, please contact Martina Schroer at 705-787-1918.
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