Concert series strong 30 years later

Aug. 19, 2014 @ 06:07 PM

The Henderson Community Concert Association is celebrating 30 years of live entertainment, generous contribution and service to local students.

“It means — for those of us who have been around all this time — a great sense of accomplishment for our organization and our town because we know what we have exposed the children to,” president Jane Frazier said. “We know what we have done.”

The organization started in 1984 with the mission to bring live shows to a community with none. Businesses and patrons have been integral to HCCA's sustainability.

Over the years, its board of directors has conducted 135 concerts, ballets, acrobats and musical shows — to name a few — with some events attracting more than 900 guests.

Jan McDaniel, the organization’s third vice president and publicity chairwoman, said radio announcements and area newspaper articles help attract people from a 50-mile radius or more.

“People don’t mind driving to see good entertainment, I guess,” she said.

The association has operated as a nonprofit for its entire duration. Leadership is provided by a volunteer board of directors.

“All of this work, all of the things we have been doing for 30 years, has all been done by volunteers,” Frazier said. “No paid staff, ever. Just hard work and planning and dreaming — and some of us have been with it from the very beginning.”

As part of its yearly concert series, the organization has outreach events to educate students about music, history and culture.

McDaniel said the biggest educational program is the North Carolina Symphony, which visits every other year. Their next trip here is expected to be in the 2015-2016 season. During the 2014-2015 season, local students will be treated to a performance by Karrnnel Sawitsky, an award-winning violinist.

McDaniel said one of the association’s goals is to get younger families participating.

“Every year we have family-oriented shows, and it’s difficult to get families involved,” she said. “Families are so involved these days, but we would like for more of them to take advantage of the opportunity to experience live performance.”

McDaniel and Frazier each expressed the need for more local schools as participants as well.

“It’s hard to get someone to sponsor and pay for the gas to get the children there, but we have managed to do so every year,” Frazier said.

Concerts currently are performed in the Vance-Granville Community College civic center. Frazier said they will be moving to McGregor Hall, the new performing arts center being built alongside Perry Memorial Library downtown that will be part of Breckenridge Commons.

The organization started out using the auditorium in Henderson Middle School.

McDaniel said few other changes to the organization have been made over the last few years. The association utilizes the artist management contract company Live on Stage out of Nashville, Tennessee, to help book the season's lineup.

The organization's growth includes a website,, to appeal to a younger generation where guests can purchase tickets and browse shows.

Treasurer James Edwards said events and fundraising initiatives have been very successful, with some better than others.

“There is only so much money an organization can raise in a community this size,” he said. “I think we have done very well.”

He said he is proud the organization is able to bring in the North Carolina Symphony every other year and expose it to local students whose family would normally have to travel an hour to Raleigh for the experience.

“The symphony is a crown jewel that we have every other year,” he said. “We don’t need to take it for granted.”

Frazier said the organization has had many memorable showcases in recent years. Among them were the Russian American Kids Circus during the 2005-2006 concert series and a violinist showcase during the 2012-2013 series.

She said moving forward, the Henderson Community Concert Association will continue to be an educational part of the community.

“We’ve lived long enough to know you start teaching when they are young,” she said. “We just want to be a part of that. We want to help educate.”

To celebrate the 30th anniversary this year, the organization will have five season headliners.

Information and purchasing tickets can be done on the website or by calling (252) 425-7359.

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[Editor's note: This story reflects the following corrections made Aug. 19, 2014: The Henderson Community Concert Association is a nonprofit volunteer organization. It is not owned or managed by any outside entities. It is under the leadership of its board of directors.

The “Live on Stage” company, based in Nashville, Tennessee, is an artist management contract company. Matt Davenport is the president and owner of Live on Stage.

HCCA is not housed anywhere specifically in Henderson. Performances have most recently been at Vance-Granville Community College’s civic center and may in the future go to McGregor Hall, the new downtown performing arts center, when it is completed.

The N.C. Symphony visits Henderson once every two years, with the next visit expected to be in 2015-2016.

The Dispatch regrets the errors and any resulting inconvenience.]