IX : The Middle & Late 80’s

by Bill Coons, Historian

1985-86 Season: The Summer Theatre presented “They’re Playing Our Song”, “I’m Getting My Act Together……” and “The Pirates of Penzance”, as well as a children’s play. At the Sept. Board meeting, Betty Alleman, Theatre Director, declared this theatre season as a “financial disaster”. A number of situations contributed to poor attendance. A deficit of over $3,100 resulted, even after significant personal contributions. With only $200 left in the Theatre bank account, Betty recommended that there be no 1986 season. Lee Caulkins was elected V.P. & Margaret Wagner Rec. Secy. Other existing officers continued. Selling “Entertainment ‘86” books was chosen as one of the year’s fundraisers. A fall garage sale netted $600. The Christmas concert, attended by an estimated 1100, included a brass quartet. The winter Pops Concert, with the Sweet Adeline’s Quarter as guests, raised $1,250. In March, the Symphony played 2 concerts with the Brockport Symphony, featuring the Brahms 1st Symphony. Another Chinese Dinner was held, adding $980 to the Treasury. David Fetler attended a Board meeting to discuss the relationship between GPAS and the Symphony. He had appointed a representative to the Board. It was suggested that the Board prepare a list of “expectations” of performing groups. Dick Snook made a proposal to start a jazz ensemble. Bob Holtz announced his resignation as Program Coordinator. Selling RPO “Grass Passes” for the summer concerts was added as a fundraiser. The spring concert featured the Geneseo Chamber singers as well as the Symphony and Choral Society. The Summer Theatre held a benefit performance at the Downstairs Cabaret, netting $780. The Choral Society sang with the RPO twice in June, and again at a Town of Greece 4th of July Gala. The Treasury ending balance was $1,465.

1986-87 Season: There was no summer Theatre. September & March Board minutes are missing. Lee Caulkins was elected president, and Janet Salzer Secretary. Bill Coons agreed to serve as Program Coordinator as well as Treasurer. Prior to the Oct. meeting, a discussion took place about the direction of GPAS. There was particular concern for the future of the Theatre and the low attendance at many of the music performances. Support for the Symphony was questioned. It was decided to again urge all performers to join GPAS. The year began with plans for most of the concert arrangements and funding events of the previous year. The proposed Jazz ensemble did not form. Sale of RPO Grass Passes netted $190. The Symphony performed a concerto concert in July with 4 soloists. The Nov. membership concert was held at the Assembly of God. The Christmas concert was dedicated to the memory of Bob Holtz, who died in November. The Arcadia Sax Ensemble performed at the Pops Concert, which raised $1,280. The 2nd Festival of Religious Music featured the Bethany Bell Choir and 5 church choirs. An $850 LIFT Grant was received for the Symphony to present a Family Concert, which took place at Olympia H.S. in June. Simon Pontin narrated “Peter & the Wolf”. Jim Harrington resigned as conductor of the Community Orchestra to continue his education. The year was financially successful, with the ending balance $6,177, plus $2,466 in the Theatre account.

1987-88 Season: Summer Theatre continued dark. William Fellows was elected President. Phyliss Fellows acted as Secretary. There was no V.P. Tom Ellison became conductor of the Community Orchestra. Board meetings were moved to Trinity Episcopal Church. The Symphony presented 20th anniversary concerts at Olympia H.S. and Hochstein Music School. The Monroe Brass performed at the annual Christmas concert. In view of declining membership, it was agreed that all permanent members of the performing groups should be required to join GPAS. At the following meeting, this action was postponed. Two items mentioned in the Board minutes remind us that things do eventually come to pass: the Athena Auditorium and the Northampton Community Center. The Pops Concert added the Athena Jazz Ensemble and raised $1,300. It was agreed to join the School District, as consultants, in presenting the Saltworks Theatre group’s drug awareness programs in Dec. The 6th annual Chinese dinner raised $1,200. The Genesee Valley Chorus joined the Choral Society and Symphony in an Easter concert, featuring the Faure Requiem. A $2,050 LIFT Grant was received to present the Symphony in a “Concert for All Ages” in June. A Young Artist winner and a classical guitarist were included. The season ended with a $480 deficit, leaving $5,530 in the Treasury. Theatre money was held in a CD.