Graham Concert Association member Ellen Morris and President Carter Pettit sit on the stage of the memorial auditorium that was built in 1929 and will host six performances from the association this season. The association is constantly looking for new members to join and help continue the arts in Graham.  (Leader photo by Thomas Wallner)
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New concert season features wide variety of performers

The Graham Concert Association recently announced its schedule for the 2016-17 season, which contains six shows starting in September and extending through February.
The association kicks off its new season of performances with the Grammy-winning Light Crust Doughboys at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 in the Graham Memorial Auditorium.
Tickets for all performances at the memorial auditorium are available at the door for $20 for adults, $5 for students and season passes are available for $75.
The non-profit association, which has been around for over 70 years, applies each year for grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts and Priddy Foundation. Those funds help the association to pay for and host performances.
Association member Ellen Morris said these organization recognize the slim availability of performances in West Texas.
“(They) recognize that populations west of Interstate 35 may not have easy access to artists and cultural opportunities,” said Morris.
One challenge for Morris is coming up with a mix of performances to fill the season with cultural variety. Association President Carter Pettit said at one point the taste of the association favored classical musical but changed over time.
“There was a time where there was a lot of classical music that was really the forte of the Graham Concert Association,” Pettit said.
“I think over the years that has changed a little bit due to the dynamics of our population, due to the fact that there is a lot more music out there these days. There is also this phenomenon, if you will, of musicians now lasting well into their year and it’s almost like they have a rebirth from time to time. With that rebirth comes more reasonable pricing for a town our size and an organization our size.”
This year the Fort Worth Symphony, which has been a staple performer for the association for many years, will not be a part of the new season due to scheduling conflicts. Pettit said the concert association program committee will be in talks with the symphony as soon as possible in order to fit them in next year and they will still play for the children’s concert on Feb. 28.
The association’s 70 years in existence mean they have contacts far and wide with performers, Pettit said. Performers will contact members of the organization by mail or other means to schedule performances each year.
“Because we have been in existence for so long there have been a number of talent agencies who have been in contact with us and in fact, there is one in this package I am giving to Ellen that hit our mailbox. They regularly contact Ellen and Rubyetta Cain before her, offering up the people who are basically in their stable of performers,” Pettit said.

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The Graham Leader

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