Saturday, April 13, 2024
49.0°F

Concert Association dissolves; donates funds to area schools

by JANET FEILER - SPECIAL TO THE PRESS
| April 2, 2024 1:00 AM

WALLACE — It was fall, 1941. The U.S. was on the brink of entering World War II, “Citizen Kane” was a hit at the box office. Fast food drive-ins were popping up everywhere, a gallon of gas cost 12 cents and a car could be bought for $850.

Here in Idaho, Gary Cooper was duck hunting with Ernest Hemingway in the Wood River Valley, silver was selling for 35 cents an ounce, the Kellogg School District was installing fluorescent lights in the high school gym, St. Maries was looking for a burglar who stole $100 from a slot machine in the Eagles Club and a group of area residents were launching an organization to bring outstanding musical performances to the Silver Valley.

Now, 80-plus years later, that organization — the Shoshone County Community Concert Association — is dissolving. 

The realities of declining membership and a dwindling volunteer base prompted the SCCCA board’s recent decision to disband and donate its remaining $12,500 in funds to area schools, to be used for music education and appreciation. 

The allocations are $2,000 each to Mullan School District K-12, Wallace Junior-Senior High School, and Kellogg Middle School; $2,500 to Silver Hills Elementary School; $1,500 each to Kellogg Senior High and Pinehurst Elementary School, $1,000 to Canyon Elementary Magnet School, and a smaller amount to Sixth Street Theater. The Mullan district and Kellogg High School had received grants last year through an application process.

In its 80 years, SCCCA presented more than 400 concerts for its members and sponsored approximately 1,000 school outreach programs, enabling students to meet, hear and learn from musicians. 

The Shoshone association had initially organized as Kellogg Civic Concert Association, but soon expanded to its county-wide designation. Its first concert, in February of 1942, featured pianist Percy Granger. That fall, the association became affiliated with Columbia Artists of New York and brought in the world-renowned Don Cossack Chorus and Dancers. Subsequent years would bring many up-and-coming musicians and international artists to local venues.

SCCCA membership reached an all-time high of 930 in the early 1950s when Shoshone County hit a population of 22,806. In addition to four to six concerts annually within the county, reciprocity agreements allowed SCCCA members to also attend concerts in Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint, Lewiston, Spokane and western Montana.

Past President Marcella Hanson credited the association’s longevity to its dedicated volunteers, loyal members and the support of private foundations and businesses. In recent years, an aging membership, the Covid epidemic and rising costs of bringing renowned artists to a rural area made continuation of the association difficult.

SCCCA was once among many community concert associations in Idaho. All have now dissolved.