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Medford Draws Classical Music Greats

Even when Medford was just a small country town, its people yearned for music and other cultural activities.

In 1931 Medford joined the National Civic Music Association through the efforts of a dozen volunteers who sold subscriptions.  The group brought music to small towns in the region. Over the years, the concerts have included everything from opera to musical comedy, including Carnegie Hall-caliber artists as varied as the Vienna Boys Choir, classical guitarist Segovia, pianist Van Cliburn and violinist Itzhak Perlman.

Loud noises from steam radiators sometimes provided unwelcome sound effects to the first performances in the old Medford High School auditorium.  By the 1960’s, concerts were moved to the Hedrick Junior High School gym, where larger audiences sat on hard bleachers, but thrilled to hear Van Cliburn on the grand piano and Perlman’s virtuoso violin.  One time, a dramatic Russian dance troupe threw knives into the gymnasium floor to the consternation of the school board.  And once a special stage was built for the Bolshoi Ballet.

Renamed the JC Concerts, the volunteer organization today offers comfortable seats and modern heating at performances in the North Medford High School auditorium.

 

Sources:  "About Us." JC Concerts, Jackson County CCA, 2017, jcconcerts.org/about/. Accessed 27 Mar. 2017.

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Sharon Bywater of Ashland, Oregon grew up in Southern California. She taught English literature and writing at Syracuse University in New York, where she also wrote and edited adult literacy books and published freelance articles in local media. Later, she lived in Washington, D.C., where she worked as an international telecommunications policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She has Master’s degrees in English and Communications Management.