The Valley City Area Concert Association had its very last concert Thursday, May 10, and has ended as an organization. “A total decapitation of our executive board combined with a shrinking and aging audience and increasing costs it’s just been harder and harder to make these concerts happen,” explained Wes Anderson, who is a volunteer member of the concert association board.
Their last of many concerts usually held in VCSU’s Vangstad Auditorium or Froemke Auditorium featured “METALES M5,” Mexico’s finest young brass quintet whose members live in and around Mexico City.
The organization, originally called Valley City Community Concert Association, was established June 20, 1966, in an effort to promote a community concert series in Valley City. Louise Zahl of Williston was the chairman and Dr. Loren Waa served as first president.
Carole Flatau, who was the first campaign manager of the association, was one of several who helped start the association. It wasn’t Valley City’s first concert association, though. Flatau said that when she was in grade school, Valley City had a concert association but after that one ended, the community had went several years without one.
Concert enthusiasts were, at that time, traveling to Fargo to attend concerts. “I didn’t like the idea of leaving town,” said Flatau.
By 1996 the concert association had established an executive committee and a board of 12 directors. Early members had recruited many workers and had “really fine concerts,” said Flatau.
When Flatau left in 1985, the association was still going strong, but has since seen a decline in audience and membership. “It’s not just a Valley City problem; it’s a sign of the times,” Flatau explained.
The committee and board has diminished, and the VCACA is currently without a president, secretary and more key officers.
Issues involving the 501 (c)(3), or tax exempt, nonprofit, status have also contributed to its ending. According to Anderson, upon review with the IRS, it was determined that the VCACA did not have non-profit status, and the cost to get the status proved to be a financial burden.
Despite its ending, members are grateful that they were able to work together to keep the organization going as long as it did. “The organization has brought great family-approved concerts to Valley City and the area for over 50 years,” said Diana Skroch, membership chair and VCSU liaison for the VCACA.
The VCACA isn’t the only local organization suffering. Anderson said that volunteerism and memberships in the community are way down. “This is but one example of what will continue to happen if people don’t start investing back into this community with their time, talent, and treasure,” he said.
One of these struggling organizations is the American Legion. Previous commander of the American Legion Lyle Anderson said efforts are being put forth to keep it going. Some of these efforts include bingo and karaoke events.
There is discussion about the VCACA partnering with the Bridges Arts Council under their nonprofit status and function as a committee. They would still need to find members and volunteers, though.
The VCACA has encouraged its members to join the Sheyenne Valley Fine Arts Association in Lisbon. For SFAA membership information, call 701-683-4759.