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The North Bay Community Concert Association was a volunteer organization which organized regular concert series of professional live music in North Bay. Founded in 1943, the Association was one of many such community concert associations in Canada and the US which organized concerts through a partnership with the New York-based booking agency Columbia Artists Management Incorporated and its subsidiaries. Community concert associations would hold annual membership campaigns, requiring members to purchase prepaid subscriptions to the year’s concerts. With the funds raised, the associations would rent a concert venue and book artists through Columbia Artists Management Incorporated, which was responsible for making all other concert arrangements and for providing pre-printed concert programs and publicity material. This “organized audience” program allowed volunteer groups in smaller cities and towns to engage major Canadian and international artists for local concerts which would not otherwise have been financially viable.
The North Bay Community Concert Association usually sponsored four members-only concerts each year, predominantly featuring classical music, but occasionally folk music, musical theatre, and dance. Some of the more well-known artists who performed in North Bay included the Von Trapp Family Singers, de Paur’s Infantry Chorus, the baritone Todd Duncan, contralto Portia White, soprano Camilla Williams, and pianist Lillian Kallir. Local musicians were only rarely featured. At its peak in the 1960s and 1970s, the Association had between 1000 and 1500 members. Concerts were held in the auditorium of North Bay Collegiate Institute and Vocational School (later renamed Algonquin Composite) until 1959, when they were moved to the Capitol Theatre. In 1980, the Theatre’s owner cancelled their agreement with the Association, forcing it to move the concerts to the auditorium of West Ferris Secondary School, which did not prove adequate. Faced with a lack of a proper venue together with a dwindling membership, the Association voted to disband on 10 September 1984.
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