10-24 CCN Letters to the Editor

FAC offers high quality entertainment close to home

 To the editor:

The Watertown Area Fine Arts Council has for many years sought to provide quality musical entertainment for local residents. Currently, the Fine Arts Council is in a transition period in which it moves from offering smaller-scale events, like concerts in the park, to hosting high-caliber musicians that are famous on a regional, national, or even international level.

When the school district built the beautiful Performing Arts Center, many people thought this facility, which is a real asset to the community, should be seen and used more frequently. The Fine Arts Council agreed, and used the opportunity to hold meetings with and seek feedback from a variety of people who might be interested in seeing the Performing Arts Center used to its full potential in a way that benefits the entire area.

These meetings produced a group of people with the more defined goal of bringing bigger, better and more well-known musicians to Watertown. The state-of-the-art, 600-seat Performing Arts Center allows area residents to enjoy an evening of world-class entertainment without fighting traffic on a 60-mile round trip to the Twin Cities or searching for parking in downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul.

Offering this high-end entertainment, like Cuban jazz pianist Nachito Herrera, who will play at the PAC on Saturday, Oct. 26, does come with a higher cost, which in this case includes a $25 ticket price. However, when you consider that our area residents don’t have to travel far or pay for parking to enjoy this show, and when you compare ticket prices to what a ticket would cost at a larger venue in the Twin Cities, the price truly is a bargain.

Saturday’s concert featuring Herrera, who has toured the world and played in some of the world’s most famous venues, is only the first in a series of upcoming concerts. Upcoming concerts also include the Steele Family Holiday Show on Nov. 23, which will include holiday songs — both standards and originals — sung by one of Minnesota’s most famous vocal music families.

Richard Doran Johnson will also be presenting songs from his musical, “City of Lakes,” and other New Orleans jazz, along with saxophonist Christian Winther, at the PAC on Feb. 22. Johnson was a member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. The Fine Arts Council is also working to bring the world renowned 125-voice Great Northern Choir to Watertown sometime next spring.

With quality entertainment performing in such a quality venue, it should bring quality individuals and families to Watertown to enjoy our beautiful community. The Fine Arts Council encourages people to consider buying several tickets for our upcoming concerts and inviting friends, relatives, neighbors, or even a shut-in or nursing home resident to Watertown to enjoy the show. Tickets also make great gifts for business owners to give to employees.

Support from our sponsors, many area residents and businesses have made the Fine Arts Council’s past events possible, and we hope even more people will choose to attend any or all of our upcoming events. It is only with the support of the community that we can continue to offer such high-quality and affordable entertainment so close to home.

Jim May