In this our 85th year of offering outstanding live music to the Lebanon County, it may be valuable to stand off and take a look at our organization through the years. During an illustrious history, the Lebanon County Community Concert Association has been committed, like that of scores of other community concert associations across the country, to making available to the community of Lebanon top-notch live music.
Included in performances brought to the Lebanon County Community were a number of well-known musicians and performing groups. The list has included big-name bands and orchestras like the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, the National Symphony, Artie Shaw, and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Smaller ensembles included the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Beaux Arts Trio of New York, the Belgrade Chamber Orchestra, and the Prague Chamber Orchestra. The operas, "La Boheme", "Rigoletto", "The Marriage of Figaro", "Tosca", and "The Merry Widow" have visited the Lebanon stage. Among vocal ensembles, engaged by LCCCA were the Roger Wagner Chorale, The Don Cossacks Chorus, the Robert Shaw Chorale, the Vienna Boys Choir, The Trapp Family Singers, and The Black Mountain Male Chorus of Wales. Ballet has been represented in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, The New York Theatre Ballet, and the Jeffrey II Ballet. Individual artists who have made the trek to our musical oasis in Lebanon County included Simon Estes, Helen Jepson, Jose Iturbi, Gregor Piatigorski, Rosalyn Kind, Elisabeth Von Trapp, Nathan Granner, and Frank D’Amrosio
It takes money and attention to detail to keep an organization like LCCCA running smoothly for 85 years. We do not sell tickets to individual concerts, but rather solicit membership in the Association. The membership ticket enables the holder to attend all the concerts of the season. The cost of membership has risen from five dollars for the season (two dollars for student membership) to 75 dollars today (10 dollars for students). Even so, when you consider what you would have to pay at Carnegie Hall in New York… or even the Hershey Theater to hear the same artists… you realize what a bargain you're getting.
Eighty years ago the concerts were held in the auditorium of Lebanon Senior High School (now the Harding Elementary School at Sixth and Chestnut) and after several changes in venue, today’s concerts are presented in the Lebanon Senior High School (only now it is located at 1000 South 8th Street)!
To decide what talent is engaged for the season, the members of the board (or a committee of the board) meet with a field representative from Live on Stage of Nashville, Tennessee, to go over a list of artists that will be available and at what price. Besides financial limitations, there is also the difficult problem of dates. Often there are conflicts with concerts of the Hershey Artists Series, Harrisburg Symphony, faculty recitals at Lebanon Valley College, and local high school events; or it may be that the auditorium is not available on the preferred date; or the auditorium is available, but the artist cannot come on that date.
Once a schedule of concerts for the season has been contracted, the membership drive begins, and arrangements are made for newspaper, radio, and TV coverage. An active LCCCA Board (all of whom serve voluntarily with no remuneration) assume responsibility for "back-stage" details -- rental of the auditorium, printing of tickets, securing ushers, printing and distribution of advertising fliers, the transportation and housing of the artists, piano tuning, and so on. Sometimes the going is rough and there is lively discussion as to what artists to schedule, or what date to choose, but one thing has been constant through the years: the love of good music and the desire to bring to the community of Lebanon the joys of good music. Perhaps Columbia Artists (an early supplier of artists for LCCCA) said it best: "A Carnegie Hall in Every Town". Thanks to the vision, enterprise, and selfless dedication of countless people through the years, the community of Lebanon has enjoyed many distinguished artists (most of whom had difficulty in finding our little community on the map)!
Today's LCCCA Board is committed to continuing this tradition of excellence. In recent years, the board has recognized the "graying" of the concert-going public and has taken steps to encourage younger folk to attend musical events. These popular performances, along side of the Classical Artists, have helped increase the number of season subscriptions from 400 in 2005 to over 1000 this year. This increase in the number of season subscribers combined with the generosity of our Patrons allows us to offer a season subscription of 5 concerts for $75. (A single ticket for any concert purchased at the door costs $30.)
When you purchase the season subscription for $75 you are getting each concert for $15 - an outstanding value for your entertainment dollar! Consider how much the gas, tolls, parking, and journey to New York City to hear a single concert ticket… and then come to the community concerts at Lebanon High School and receive 4 more concerts as a bonus!
In the upcoming year LCCCA will continue their commitment to students in Lebanon Schools. This will include opportunities for students to interact with artists, as well as inviting selected students to perform prior to concerts, and on occasion perform with our professional artists. In past years, monies to fund this undertaking have come from grants from HersheyFoods and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.