GRANDVIEW — It was a gray, chilly Saturday afternoon for the Lower Valley Live! concert series audience.
The music lovers gathered April 27 at Country Park to hear some spirited vintage country-western music, but it was with heavy hearts as they learned the concert would be the last one hosted by Live!
Normally, the Live! group is known for hosting a classical saxophone quintet or Russian pianists, said organizers.
On this concert day, the stylings of Malpass Brothers of Tennessee kept toes tapping and hands clapping, even as association season ticket holders mourned the demise of the concert series.
“We are disbanding after more than 70 years of providing live performances to the Lower Yakima Valley crowds,” said Alys Means.
The overcast skies reflected the feelings of some of the audience, who have followed the community concerts for generations.
The Malpass Brothers performance was announced as the last live concert to be hosted by the company.
Unable to sustain a membership large enough to support professionals and diverse concerts on the local stage is seen as the death knell for the organization that has brought classical music to the Lower
Yakima Valley since the late 1940s.
“It’s really sad,” said former campaign director Elizabeth Donaldson of Prosser.
Donaldson, who had been a member of the Lower Valley Community Concert Club since the late 1970s, said she just didn’t have a good explanation as to the falling membership.
There just must be too many other entertainment outlets, she guessed.
“But nowhere are there as good acts as the ones we brought to the local stage or for a better price,” Donaldson stressed.
Means, who has attended community concerts since she was a little girl, served as the last campaign’s director.
“It’s just sad, but we have been struggling for a few years to keep pace with the cost of performers and drop in membership,” she said.