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Concert association celebrates 25 years

Girl Singers of the Hit Parade will perform a tribute to the great female singers of the 1950s at an upcoming Central Lakes Concert Association event.

May 16, 1983 was a very significant day for concert lovers in the Alexandria area.

It was then that Harold Bergby, Bernita and Jerry Darveaux and Elaine Carlson met with Gil Staupe, a representative of Community Concerts, to consider forming a concert association.

On June 8, they met again and the group expanded to include Robert Iverson, Tony Schneiderhan, Ron and Sara Carlson and Audrey Bursch. The group, now numbering 12 interested people, met again on October 4 and decided to form a concert association.

They also agreed to establish reciprocity with Sauk Centre. Ron Carlson volunteered to serve as the temporary chairperson and also offered space at the Music Center for a membership campaign headquarters.

On November 1, 1983, four concerts were selected for the 1984-1985 season - the first series. The first membership campaign was set for April 1-7, 1984. A bit later in the year reciprocity was expanded to include Ortonville/Milbank and Brainerd. Later Fergus Falls was included, and also Wadena.

Today, members can attend all six of the concerts in Alexandria, plus all of the concerts in five nearby communities, for a single low price of $35 per member.

Within the year the official name for the organization was approved, that being the Central Lakes Concert Association.

Success was immediate! There were more than 1,000 student and adult members the first year, with a budget of $15,000. In the years since that fine start, the association has grown to about 1,500 members and a budget of about $40,000.

The tremendous growth in the budget was accomplished without a significant increase in members, thanks to the efforts of Harold Bergby.

Under his leadership as president, a Patron Program was initiated in 1983. It included four sponsors - one for each program for $250. That has developed into what we now call our Financial Support Program, which today includes well over 100 participants.

Harold's dream has been realized - "an expanded program of quality concerts, affordable to the general public."

The amazing success of the Central Lakes Concert Association is due in great part to a large number of volunteer workers. Many volunteers have served on the board since day one, and continue to do a fine job!

There are three concerts left in the 2009-2010 season, and they will take place in March and April. They include Jasper Wood, a virtuoso violinist; Girl Singers of the Hit Parade - four vocalists who do a tribute to the great female singers of the 1950s; and the Boston Brass, one of the finest brass quintets in the world.

For information on these concerts or to become a member of the Central Lakes Concert Association, or if you are interested in being a part of our board of directors, contact Randy Morken at (320) 762-2196 or any board member. New members are always welcome. Our membership drive for the 2010-2011 season will take place in March and April.