WATERLOO -- Every seat will be the best one in the house for the 63rd annual Metro Community Concert series.
This season's concerts will be performed at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls, located on the University of Northern Iowa campus.
"The new location raises the profile of the Metro Community Concert series," said membership secretary Mary Potter. "There are wonderful amenities, including valet parking, and we're hoping to see an increase in ticket sales. We hope it's a win-win situation for everyone involved."
For many years, the concerts have been performed in Kersenbrock Auditorium at West High School. Construction plans for a new school auditorium forced a change of venue to East High School's auditorium. Accessibility became an issue and a source of confusion for older and disabled concertgoers, ticket sales began to fall and the Metro Community Concert Association board undertook the search for new home.
East's auditorium accommodates about 900, while West seats 1,750. "For many concerts this is adequate, but for a show that draws a large number of people, it is too small," Potter said. GBPAC's Great Hall seats 1,600. The association is renting the space for the same cost it paid at West High School.
"The Gallagher-Bluedorn offered their place but because they already had many things scheduled, we were inclined to change a few dates, and one concert, in order to fit into their schedule. Steve Carignan was most delighted to give us the chance to have our concerts there because of the exposure to many who have never gone to the Gallagher. We also believe students at UNI will be able to see some concerts at prices they can afford," she explained.
Carignan is the assistant vice president for educational and sports events center management.
COMMENT FROM STEVE HERE
The Metro Community Concert Association is a locally organized and directed non-profit organization devoted to bringing good quality musical entertainment to the Cedar Valley. Through a reciprocal agreement, members of the association may be admitted to concerts in other communities, such as Marshalltown. Tickets are sold as memberships: adults, $35; students, $17.50; and families (2 adults and all students K-12 in the family), $75.
Potter said membership would be polled after the first few concerts to see if a permanent move to GBPAC would be preferred.
The season opens with the Frank Vignola Quintet at Oct. 8. Featuring two guitars, mandolin, bass and percussion, the Quintet breaks down barriers between popular music and traditional jazz to create a new acoustic string sound. The ensemble also takes requests during the show.
On Nov. 13, award-winning pianist Ilya Yakushev will perform. He is the 2005 World Piano Competition gold medal winner and has performed at major venues on three continents. A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, he won his first award at age 12.
Triple-threat performer Janice Martin -- violin, piano and soprano -- will perform "Fascinating Gershwin" on March 2. It's a high-voltage ride through the works of George and Ira Gershwin with Martin, joined by a jazz trio consisting of piano, drums and bass.
The Barbary Coast Dixieland Band, a favorite at the Cedar Basin Jazz Festival, returns to the Cedar Valley for a concert April 14. The Barbary Coast Dixieland Band organized in November 1967 to play at Jimmy's on the Levee in St. Paul, Minn. A huge success, the band played to standing room only crowds Friday and Saturday nights for five years.
Barbary Coast moved on to Diamond Jim's (a popular private club) and also started playing at corporate events and at the Minnesota State Fair, and their career has grown to include goodwill tours and performances at numerous venues. The band is known for zany comedy and a variety of novelty numbers which add seasoning to their concerts.
The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra will end the season May 12. Playing all their big hits, including "Armapola," "Tangerine," "Song of India" and "Green Eyes," the 16-piece big band is directed by Bill Tole on trombone and features Nancy Knorr on vocals.
All performances are at 7:30 p.m. Concerts are sold by season membership only.
For more information, call 233-2204 or 233-0333.