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January 20, 2013 | Back to: Local News

InConcert Sierra

What is your mission statement?

InConcert Sierra presents affordable and accessible classical and choral concerts, showcasing the finest guest artists and local musicians, presented in intimate settings. InConcert emphasizes outreach to youth and the education of audiences.

What is your yearly budget (optional), and how many paid employees do you have?

$350,000 and six paid employees.

What is your nonprofit’s history?

InConcert Sierra (formerly Twin Cities Concert Association) was conceived back in 1946 when local talent was the heart of small entertainment groups in Nevada County. It was born at the historic Bret Harte Inn in downtown Grass Valley under the sponsorship of the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce and the national Community Concert Association to create a concert series featuring professional talent of “national fame.” The fledgling organization quickly garnered more than 1,100 members, and the first concert took place at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building Oct. 10, 1946 — featuring Charles Kullman, tenor, of the S.F. Metropolitan Opera Co. In response to the extreme enthusiasm of his audience, Kullman was reported to have said, “It is a delight to have an audience like this. I like Grass Valley … and I would rather sing here than in Vienna …”

TCCA was off to a great start!

TCCA experienced a number of different phases, and each contributed to the evolution into today’s organization. In 1996, a new board of directors chose the current path of bringing to Nevada County and neighboring communities chamber music in programs that feature: award-winning musicians, fine local talent and rising young artists; affordable prices; intimate settings; friendly atmosphere.

In 2010, we changed our name to InConcert Sierra to present a more contemporary image to the community and to avoid being confused with other groups in the community identified as “Twin Cities.” In a major new initiative, the board also decided to incorporate the 4-year-old Sierra Master Chorale, conducted by artistic director Ken Hardin, as an integral part of our programming and organizational structure. The chorale is an auditioned group of 70 singers accompanied by a regional orchestra chosen by Ken Hardin. The chorale continues to increase its audience base and helps InConcert to extend its outreach to new members.

Who is your primary audience? Clients served:

The communities of Nevada County and bordering cities.

List the biggest achievements in your nonprofit’s history :

Since the current format of third Sunday concerts began in 1997 and Ken and Julie Hardin took the artistic and administrative leadership with a supportive board of directors, InConcert Sierra has stayed in the black financially and enjoyed a consistent average budget increase of 21 percent annually.

InConcert Sierra actively pursues the education of audiences and our youth through our five scholarships, awarding what amounts to more than $5,000 annually.

InConcert Sierra’s Sierra Master Chorale holds the distinction of being one of very few community choruses throughout the U.S. that always performs with its own orchestra.

Through fundraising efforts, the organization has managed to keep prices low enough for families and those on fairly tight budgets to afford the enjoyment of classical and choral music. We continue to invite youth under age 17 free to our chamber music concerts.

In 2010, InConcert chose to stretch boundaries by bringing The Vienna Boys Choir, one of the world’s most famous singing groups, to a sellout crowd of 475 people at its Seventh-day Adventist Church venue. Since then, InConcert has brought world-renowned classical artists, such as pianist Garrick Ohlsson, pianist Nikolaî Lugansky and guitarist José Luis Merlin. In 2014, it will push its boundaries as a smaller presenting organization in the foothills once more with the presentation of pianist Emmanuel Ax.

List the biggest challenges you face:

As with every nonprofit, the biggest challenge we face is fundraising.

We face the challenge of competing with the pop music culture and the stigma of classical music as a dying art form. Finding innovative ways to connect with new audiences, while being conscious of satisfying the needs of our traditional classical music audience is an additional challenge.

While we enjoy the venue we use immensely, we are limited to the style of music we can present and to available days of the week. In order to increase our programming variety and to make presentation easier, we are in need of a performing arts center that has a 400- to 500-seat hall dedicated to acoustic music.

What is your No. 1 short-term goal for the next year?

Creating sustainability through fundraising and succession planning.

What is your No. 1 long-term goal for the next three years?

Joining forces with other organizations to create a performing arts center.

What are your major fundraisers and dates?

On March 24, at 2 p.m., we entertain with Personalities and grand Versatility. We sing with bold DiversiTea and encourage with SinceriTea … that you join us … for MusicaliTea! Enjoy a three-course luncheon, creative and favorite songs with the members of the Sierra Master Chorale and unusually spectacular raffle items to vie for. Wear your favorite decorative hat for our hat contest. Individual tickets are $35 Table reservations are $240 for eight per table at $30 each — call 530-273-3990 for information!

On Sept. 22, at 2 p.m., InConcert Sierra Orchestra Extravaganza — The SMC Orchestra Unplugged with Ken Hardin, conductor. Due to the amount of requests we’ve had for an orchestra concert, Ken Hardin has put together a sensational program of orchestral favorites. More to come!

What is the best way a person interested in your organization could help?

We are always in need of financial contributions, but anyone interested can volunteer his time as a concert or office volunteer, flyer distribution or grant writing. Call 530-273-3990.

Submitted to The Union


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The Union Updated Jan 21, 2013 11:31AM Published Jan 21, 2013 12:42PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.