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Blue Earth Valley Concert Association hopes for growth

By Staff | Sep 29, 2019

Gail Otteson, one of BEVCA’s co-presidents, recently received a $7,000 check from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council, above, to use towards bringing in musical entertainment.

The Blue Earth Valley Concert Association has been one of the many jewels in Blue Earth’s fine arts entertainment crown, and over it’s 44-year legacy, that jewel has become somewhat of a hidden gem.

Now, BEVCA co-presidents Gary Olson and Gail Otteson want to shine up that hidden gem and get it back into the limelight. The Blue Earth Valley Concert Association brings world-class musicians and entertainers from all over the world to Blue Earth at an affordable cost to many.

When BEVCA?was started in 1975, Olson and Otteson share that a group of young, local professionals went door to door to share their passion for live entertainment and to bring world-renowned artists to their town of Blue Earth.

The non-profit group, since its foundation, has worked hard at providing live music to the rural community, with an emphasis in classical music.

“We always bring classical music to our concert series each year,” says Otteson. “I think it is such a treasure to be able to watch a classical ensemble or classical pianist or cellist or violinist on our stage for so many of our community members to hear.”

Part of BEVCA funding comes from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. In 2008, Minnesota passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the state constitution. From that fund, BEVCA receives a yearly grant ranging from $5,000 to $8,000. They also receive financial support from individuals and local businesses who want to maintain the arts in the area. This year, BEVCA?received a grant of $7,000 from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council.

The BEVCA co-presidents say they want to see even more members enjoying the fruits of their efforts.

“We would love to see more families give us a shot,” says Otteson. “It’s such a great family-friendly atmosphere where children can learn and enjoy all different kinds of music, and the artists that come to visit love engaging with the students and families.”

“Our concerts and the musicians we host are class-A,” says Olson. “They come before they have to go on stage to engage with ticket holders and wait until the last person leaves.”

BEVCA works with a talent group known as Allied Concert Services, who, according to the presidents, are a charm to work with.

“Our board, which consists of about 15 to 20 people in our community, goes through a list of artists each year that we want to bring to the area,” says Olson. “There is such passion from our board to be able to bring the best shows possible to our town and to Fairmont.”

From Dixieland favorites, to music impersonators, jazz ensembles, classical ensembles, jugbands, big band music and a Capella singing, BEVCA?has been host to a multitude of world-class artists and is dedicated to providing a wide variety of professional musicians to small towns like Blue Earth.

“The groups we bring to the local Performing Arts Center at the Blue Earth Area High School come at a cost anywhere from $2,500 to $7,000 or $8,000 per show,” says Olson. “These are funded by seasonal membership tickets of $50 for individuals, $10 for students, and $100 for families. Those season tickets provide 10 shows throughout our season five in Blue Earth and five in Fairmont. Where else can you get live, family-oriented entertainment for $5 a show?”

Currently, BEVCA has over 300 ticket holders for the season, but they would love to get up to 400.

“There are no assigned seats for these concerts, so you can get up real close to the artists, or you can just sit back and enjoy,” says Olson. “The artists love seeing young families and students near the front because it’s high energy and great interaction. Families of all sizes are welcome, and at $100 for a family season ticket, that’s 10 shows. If you break it down for a family of four, it’s $2.50 per person for live, high-quality entertainment. It’s cheaper than a football game.”

“We have a wonderful community theater group, we have Art in the Park variety shows in the summer, we have student productions for both music and theater,” says Otteson. “This is just another arm of our fine arts options for our area. We sell tickets to 19 different communities, who come to Blue Earth, spend dollars in town, and help our community grow. We really want to have a strong art scene in this community.”

This year, there are five concerts coming to Blue Earth from the Blue Earth Valley Concert Association:

The Everly Set will be performing Sunday, Oct. 6, at 2 p.m. This show will take you back to 1957, when teens Phil and Don Everly first supercharged the vocal sound of Rock ‘n’ Roll, with harmonies that influenced many later groups.

On Saturday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m., Timothy Chooi, the first prize winner in violin competitions in Germany, New Zealand, and in the USA, will bring his talents to Blue Earth’s PAC. Timothy is currently finishing his Masters of Music degree at the Juilliard School.

Harps & Chords perform contemporary and popular music from various decades. They have performed in many venues in the US and abroad and will bring their harps and voices to the PAC on Monday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m.

Double Double Duo are a team of classically trained international soloists. They use comedy, virtuosity and musical sensitivity to play their own styles of classical, jazz, and folk music. Accordions and wind instruments will be involved in this fun, adventurous performance on Saturday, March 14, at 7 p.m.

Ball in the House is a five- member a Capella group who make music that will move ya, with cool harmonies from R&B, Soul, and Pop genres of music. This show will be at the PAC on Sunday, May 10, at 2 p.m.

Concerts at the Fairmont High School include Popovich’s Comedy Pet Theatre on Oct. 5, Jason Farnham on Nov. 2, the Hall Sisters on March 10, Alliance Brass on April 26, and Many Voice Choir on May 17. Each of these concerts will begin at 7 p.m.