Long before there were CDs, MP3s or iPods, live performances were the main vehicle bringing quality music to the public.

Keeping that tradition alive at affordable prices is the mission of the Miami Valley Community Concert Association. The all-volunteer organization, formed in 1991 by a group of music teachers, musicians and others interested in the performing arts, presents four professional music concerts annually at the Centerville Performing Arts Center at Centerville High School.

“Our mission is to bring live performances with many different professional artists. We try to bring in a variety of music and styles of music,” says Mary Fran Ransbottom, publicity chairwoman and association board member.

For example, the last concert in this year’s series on May 22 featured the classic baritone-soprano duo Daniel and Heather Narducci.

Next fall’s season kicks off Sept. 17 with the popular a cappella ensemble Tonic Sol-fa to be followed by American pianist Thomas Pandolfi on Oct. 21. The Wonderful Wizard of Song (a tribute to “Wizard of Oz” composer Harold Arlen) will be featured on March 20, 2019. The final concert next year will be “Rockin’ the 50s,” featuring music of Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and others by clarinetist Dave Bennett.

Local community concert associations are a tradition dating back to the 1920s. With little arts funding available a number of smaller communities in the Midwest and the East turned to organized audience plans to fund concerts. Instead of struggling to make up deficits after presenting a concert community concert associations raised money first through subscriptions and then hired artists. The concept flourished until after World War II when, by some estimates, the number of community concert associations around the country topped out at more than 1,000. 

The Miami Valley Community Concert Association survives today on ticket subscriptions, individual concert ticket sales and donations, but it isn’t easy.

“We’re a group of 20 volunteer board members,” says Ransbottom, whose husband, Bob, is association president. “Nobody gets paid. All the money goes into the shows.”

Subscriptions to four concerts bought before May 31 cost $70 per seat for adults and $15 for students through college. After May 31 adult subscription cost $80. Singleperformance tickets are $30 for adults and $5 for students.

“We don’t have a big advertising budget,” she says. “Our website (mvccconcert.org) and Facebook have helped get the world out.”

Keeping the community concert association going is important, she says.

Besides exposing concertgoers to different performers and music styles, she says, “Having an audience watching a live performance is important and needs to continue and also needs to be affordable.”



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