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River Valley Band awarded $4,400 grant

Pictured, from left, are River Valley band board of directors Dan Retka, Rufino Ochoada, Lori Goetz, Cress Gackle and Allen Saunders. Submitted photo

The River Valley Band was recently awarded a $4,400 grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) through its 2017 Community Arts competition.

The funding will be used to support two concerts. The first will feature the River Valley Band performing with a guest trumpeter at the Hastings Rotary Pavilion on May 20, 2017.

The second concert will feature River Valley Band in a combined concert with the Hastings High School Wind Ensemble and the Sheldon Brass Band from Red Wing. It will take place at Hastings High School in October 2017.

"We can now bring these two project concerts at the level we had proposed," said Dan Retka, treasurer of the River Valley Band.

Retka said that the band would have had the two concerts regardless, but through the help of MRAC, they can now perform at the level they had originally proposed. The goal for each concert is to mix familiar selections with new works that may not be familiar to the musicians or audience wbut are thematically appropriate for the concert.

John Huth will play "Carnival of Venice" at the May 20 concert at the pavilion.The outdoor concert on May 20 will feature professional trumpeter John Huth. The band will demonstrate their ability to create and perform a program of river-themed music for the Hastings audience under the theme "River Songs." The October concert will expand the RVB range of performance as they work with the Hastings High School Wind Ensemble and Sheldon Brass Band.

The River Valley Band began about five years ago and the membership has grown steadily from seven musicians at its first rehearsal to about 45 musicians. Members dedicate about two hours per week and they range in age from young teens to elderly adults.

The River Valley Band created a proposal for the MRAC in order to be considered for the grant.

The MRAC funds community arts applications that demonstrate the ability to create a strong artistic project through artistic quality, artistic challenge and ability; and that demonstrates the ability to deliver their project to a clearly defined community based on community need, diversity and access.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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