A History of the Merrill Area Concert Association, Ltd.
compiled by Daniel J Leikip
The Merrill Area Concert Association, Ltd. was originally formed on November 29, 1967, under the name "The Merrill Area Concert Association, with Harlan Becker its first president; Mrs. Lesli Trantow, Vice President; Mrs. David Finanger, Secretary; and Mrs. E.H. Edman, Treasurer.
The original purpose of the Merrill Concert Association, which remains the purpose to this day, was to bring professional musicians with the highest qualities available into the Merrill Community and to allow the community the opportunity to hear live professional concerts.
Arrangements were made with Allied Concerts, a booking agency out of Minneapolis, to provide the Board of Directors with a list of talent each year from which to select the following season's programs.
The first concerts that season were: The Classic Jazz Ensemble, Lyric Singers, Howard and Patricia Barr duo-pianists, and the Reyes-Soler Espanel Dance Troupe from Spain. The total budget for that year was $3050. The membership fees were set at $8 for an adult, $4 for students and $20 for families.
It was also decided to invite the Rhinelander, Medford and Antigo Community Concert groups to our programs on a reciprocity basis. That first year 400 adult memberships were sold, 68 family and 37 student memberships with a working budget of $4403.
1969-70, Board, same officers.
Talent: Tuscon Boys Choir, Brass Quintet from the Minneapolis Symphony, Mary Boehm pianist, Cormen.
It was suggested by Mr. Becker that at the first concert in the fall a new MCA Board of Directors be elected and suggestions for the coming concert season be given.
President: Glen Miller, Vice President: Fred Mumma, Secretary: Mrs. David Finanger, Treasurer: Mrs. EH Erdman.
In 1971 the board moved to donate $400 to the Board of Education for refurbishment of the now old High School Auditorium. Later the money was designated by the Board of Education for new drapes on the stage.
1971-72 Board, same officers.
Talent: 5 by 6, Silver Strings, Will Roy—Baritone, Lee Evans.
It was suggested that a high school student be appointed to the MCA Board for a one year term.
President: Fred Mumma, Vice President: Harlan Becker, Secretary: Mrs. David Finanger, Treasurer: Mrs. EH Erdman
Talent: Trio Con Brio, Charlie Byrd, Norwood, Kipnis Mime Theater
Free tickets will be given to radio stations and newspapers that give us free publicity.
President: Dennis Repee, Vice President: Rev Paul Emmel, Secretary: Mrs. Dieter Nickel, Treasure: Mrs. EH Erdman
Talent: The Dixie Hummingbirds, Vocal Arts Ensemble, Annapolis Brass Quintet, Andrew Wolf—piano
Each year new memberships were added and the budget for programs slowly increased. Although most of the talent selected in these early years were relatively unknown, they were well received by the Merrill audiences and provided good quality entertainment.
1974-75 Board, same officers.
Talent: Weekley & Argenbright—pianists, St. Olaf Orchestra, Rondoliers, Ronnie Kole Trio
Talent: Columbus Boys Choir, Bill Schtick, Stan Freeman, Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra