Guide to the Civic Music Association Collection (Unprocessed) – History

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The Santa Cruz Civic Music Association was incorporated in 1949, though it began earlier. The civic music association movement started in the United States in 1921. The purpose of the organization was to bring highly trained and world famous performing artists to smaller communities by pooling resources of residents. From the 1940s to the 1960s, the annual Santa Cruz membership fee ranged from $5 to $7.50. Membership secured the right of attendance at five or six concerts in the series. The number of concerts each season was based on the number of memberships that were sold. The average number of members in the Santa Cruz Civic Music Association was about sixteen hundred. Performances were held in the Civic Auditorium. At the end of each season, association members selected the types of concerts-piano, violin, vocal, orchestral, or dance-they would like to see the following season. Selections were then made from a list of performers under contract to the New York Civic Concert Service. Some of the performers brought to Santa Cruz included Isaac Stern, Arthur Rubinstein, Ezio Pinza, Leontyne Price, the Don Cossack Choir, the Vienna String Orchestra, and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.