ashland.news
July 24, 2024

Rogue Valley Symphonic Band awarded grant from Oregon Arts Commission

Juan Gallastequi fills the role of music director for the Rogue Valley Symphonic Band, pictured here at a past performance, as well as operations manager for the Rogue Valley Symphony.
March 10, 2024

Next concerto Saturday, March 16, in Ashland

By James Sloan, Rogue Valley Times

The Rogue Valley Symphonic Band is one of 53 arts organizations awarded an Arts Build Communities grant from the Oregon Arts Commission, bringing in $5,000 for the Ashland-based nonprofit musical group.

Also known as the Rogue Valley Wind Ensemble, organizers with the symphonic band say they intend to use the grant money to broaden their outreach to youth musicians in the local community and players in underserved areas.

Specifically, Barb Knox, treasurer for Rogue Valley Symphonic Band said the funding will go towards “community enrichment and engagement, access to new venues and trying to keep our (ticket) prices down.”

“Last year’s goal was to expand concerts into Medford, and we performed at North Medford High School and Oakdale Middle School,” Knox said.

Beyond the goals of outreach and cultural enrichment for youth musicians in the Rogue Valley, there are multiple adolescent and young adult players in the band itself.

“We include some skilled high school students in our band and some college students play in our band,” Knox said.

Next year, RVSB intends to bring back its annual Young Artist Competition, thanks to the grant funding and a $75,000 donation last year from the late James Collier, a prominent supporter and patron of the arts in Southern Oregon.

Bassoonist James Dyson will be featured in the Rogue Valley Symphonic Band’s upcoming concerts in Ashland and Medford March 16-17.

Also awarded an Arts Build Communities grant in Jackson County was performing arts nonprofit Anima Mundi Productions of Phoenix. The grant program shared $265,000 to arts organizations across the state.

RVSB has been involved in the arts scene for decades.

“We’ve been in existence for over 30 years,” said Pam Hammond, a board member and musician with RVSB.

“The wind ensemble is just the most collaborative group of musicians … about 50 of us play together to advance music in the Rogue Valley,” Hammond added.

The wind ensemble plays concert band music and also explores new, little-known or rarely played pieces.

“Mostly, what we’re trying to present is the new literature. I think that’s what (music director) Juan (Gallastegui) is focused on,” Hammond said.

Shelly Cox-Thornhill will be featured in the upcoming Rogue Valley Symphonic Band spring concert as a solo vocalist.

The band will present new tunes with its upcoming concerts in March, featuring young players as soloists.

“This next concerto will feature a young artist in high school, James Dyson, on bassoon,” Hammond said, adding “There’s also a solo vocalist, Shelly Cox-Thornhill.”

The first performance at the Southern Oregon University Recital Hall is at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 16, while the second concert is at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at North Medford High School’s Sjolund Auditorium.

Tickets are $20, $15 for seniors, and $5 for children, students and Oregon Trail Card holders. Tickets are available online at onthestage.tickets/show/rogue-valley-symphonic-band or at the door.

To learn more about RVSB, visit roguevalleysymphonicband.org.

Reach reporter James Sloan at jsloan@rv-times.com. This story first appeared in the Rogue Valley Times.

Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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