Volunteer nurturing, guiding and promoting

Apr. 06, 2013 @ 10:49 PM

The Henderson Community Concert Association will be celebrating its 30th season when it kicks off the 2013-2014 season in September.

Nurturing the organization through many of those years has been the association’s president, Jane Frazier.

What has become a community fixture got off to a tentative start, Frazier said. In the early 1980s, a number of local musicians and business people met with a representative of Columbia Artists Management to discuss the possibility of creating a community concert association. But because of doubts about the feasibility of the proposal, the group decided not to proceed.

“I was very disappointed,” Frazier said. “I knew how much we needed it.”

But the proposal wouldn’t die. The group looked at it again the next year and decided to give it a try.

“We sold enough memberships and got enough business support to make it fly,” she said.

That was 1984. Each year since then HCCA has presented an impressive array of programs to the community.

William Hildebrand was the first president and Frazier was vice president. Hildebrand moved away the next year and Frazier took the presidency. She has held the position since except for five years in the early 1990s, when she lived elsewhere due to career moves by her husband.

Frazier named a number of factors that got the association off the ground.

“We’ve had a strong board: loyal, dedicated,” Frazier said. “It’s been instrumental in continuing this organization.”

Volunteers run the association, sell memberships and solicit advertisements. There are no paid employees.

“It’s an all-volunteer organization,” Frazier said. “Always has been.”

A third factor has been affordable prices. Frazier said they didn’t want the cost to keep anyone from participating.

Along with these organizational factors were a number of individuals who have been vital. Frazier said she was reluctant to name names for fear of leaving out important supporters.

But she was willing to name a few.

“A.G. Bordon was so instrumental,” she said. “He was always there to back us up.

“Jan McDaniel has been publicity chairman from the beginning.”

She described Vivian McIntyre as “a dedicated salesman,” who has been instrumental with memberships and businesses.

Ruth Hartness has served as membership secretary.

And she added that Phil Young, retired minister of music at First Baptist Church, has been involved from the beginning, particularly in selecting good programs.

Frazier also mentioned two deceased pillars of the organization. Dr. M.W. Wester, Jr. and I.H. “Vick” Vickery made important contributions during those early years.

Originally, concerts were held at Henderson Middle School. Then the venue was changed to the Vance-Granville Community College Civic Center.

“I can’t tell you how grateful we are to Vance-Granville Community College for providing us the venue and staff for our concerts,” Frazier said.

She is quick to add that the reason the association is thriving as it approaches its 30th anniversary is due to dedicated volunteers, strong community support and the quality of artists and programs the organization has been able to present to the community.

Frazier has been involved in the arts for most of her life. She grew up in Henderson and graduated from Henderson High School. She attended Louisburg College, East Carolina College (now East Carolina University) and received a bachelor’s degree in music from Meredith College.

She is married to Harold Frazier. They have three adult children: Harold II, a surgeon; Melody Jane Doster; and Elisa Freeze, a preschool teacher.
A priority for Frazier is bringing the arts to children.

“We want to help children discover that music expresses beauty in us and around us,” Frazier said. “The earlier they discover that, the better.”

She said that’s why HCCA has the N.C. Symphony provide a daytime program for school children as well as an evening concert when it performs in Vance County, typically every other year.

Music can expand children’s horizons, Frazier said.

“It exposes children to other cultures,” she said.

This is reflected in HCCA offerings from at least 10 different countries over the years.

The sum total, Frazier said, is a reflection of the HCCA’s stated purpose: “dedication to making quality performing arts more accessible and enjoyable for audiences in our area and to giving children the opportunity to grow up with great live music!”

In addition to bringing artists from around the world, HCCA has provided a showcase for local talent. In 2012, Henderson native John Noel was the featured pianist with the N.C. Symphony. The Northern Vance and Southern Vance high school bands and choruses performed during the 2006-2007 concert season.

Variety is a hallmark of HCCA presentations.

The big band era was recalled with appearances of the Glenn Miller, Harry James, Tommy Dorsey and Xavier Cugat orchestras. For ballet lovers, Swan Lake was presented by Moscow Festival Ballet, and the Nutcracker was performed by New York Theatre Ballet.

Nostalgic remembrances of American icons included Ricky Nelson’s sons, Jim Curry performing John Denver’s music, the Legacy of Floyd Cramer, the Will Rogers Follies and the Freddy Cole Quartet performing the music of his brother, Nat King Cole.

Choral music was represented by the Westminster Choir, the Moscow Boys Choir and the Black Mountain Chorus of Wales.

Acrobats and a circus have provided a more active kind of entertainment.

Whatever a person’s individual taste in the performing arts, HCCA has responded over the years and continues to respond.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.