Fran Caldwell of Artslink appeared before the Wetzel County Commission on Tuesday morning to request monetary support of the American Wind Symphony's July 11 and 12 New Martinsville appearance. This appearance is being brought to New Martinsville through a partnership involving the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce, Wetzel County Convention and Visitor's Bureau, Riverfront Development Committee, and ArtsLink.
The amount needed for this endeavor is $15,000, a "major undertaking," as described by Caldwell. Yet, Caldwell reminded the commission of the importance of these sorts of events, stating again, that when a community loses its arts, "it loses its soul." Commission President Don Mason asked Caldwell when the money was needed; Caldwell stated that the donation was not needed immediately, just a commitment.
At the conclusion of Tuesday's meeting, the commissioners voted to donate a third of the cost, $5,000, to the Chamber of Commerce.
The American Wind Symphony will dock in New Martinsville and then perform in July.
For 54 years the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (AWSO) has been making musical headlines along the waterways of the United States, the Caribbean, and Northern Europe.
Called "a remarkable cultural phenomenon" by New York Magazine's music critic Alan Rich, the group was founded in 1957 by its music director, Robert Austin Boudreau, who motivates his top notch young musicians to perform at their highest capacity.
The 2012 tour on the AWSO's unique floating stage, "Point Counterpoint II" will begin in mid-June as the vessel and its musicians present an unforgettable experience to citizens of Columbus, Miss. The orchestra will then entertain thousands as they traverse the Tombigbee Waterway, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers, and then enter the
Ohio and progress upriver, stopping in New Martinsville before returning to its home port of Pittsburgh, where a homecoming celebration of the orchestra's 55th anniversary will include a Cuban music and arts festival, as well as a conductors and composers symposium.
The orchestra's audiences bring folding chairs and blankets to the riverside and watch in fascination as the shell of the orchestra's floating arts center, "Point Counterpoint II," opens and the music begins. From that point on, there is a shared experience between audience and performers that is remembered for many years. The music is unique and exciting, the floating stage is a one-of-a-kind wonder, and the setting is a harmonious blending of river sounds, the lowering sun, and camaraderie with one's neighbors. Robert Boudreau has truly found a way to make the arts a part of life.
For 52 years, it's been traditional for the musicians who make up the American Wind Symphony Orchestra to live with local families for a few days at each stop on the concert route. Whether traveling through the U.S. or abroad, the experience of getting to know the local residents has long been a rewarding highlight for these fine young performers. This year's tour up the Ohio River is no exception.
During the time the musicians are in town, local organizers, with the help of the Superintendent of Schools and local band directors, are setting up workshops for area young musicians. This will give local students an opportunity to learn from these fine musicians.
The public concert will be available to all residents free of charge; corporate and business sponsors will have reserved seating for the show and a limited number of residents will have the opportunity to participate in a special private concert, tour of the Point Counterpoint II which holds an art gallery, a wine and cheese or brunch social to meet the musicians and music director in person by purchasing a sponsorship ticket costing $100. To purchase tickets for this private concert or to make a business or corporate donation please contact the Chamber Office at 304-455-3825 immediately to get your seat reserved.
In other commission matters, Sue Miller, co-treasurer for Magnolia High School Band Patrons, asked for the fee to be waived for the band's rental of the 4-H grounds for the summer. This request was unanimously approved and granted. Two weeks of band camp will be held over the summer, as well as the seniors spending the night at the grounds.