Submitted by Minnis Alderman
These concerts were organized to bring into United States communities concerts by musicians of all professional areas. Established in Ely during the 1950s, the local concert association was able to get a concert grand piano. The three types of professional pianos are Baby Grand (5 feet), Parlor Grand (7 feet), and Concert Grand (9 feet). That was quite an accomplishment for a small community. Ely joined two other Nevada communities at that time with concert grands: Reno and Las Vegas.
The Columbia Artists’ Concerts were held at white Pine High School gym/auditorium located on Aultman St. – now the middle school. Finally a new superintendent of White Pine School District decided that the concerts were not to be performed in the school anymore.
So where could the Concert Association go with the professional concerts? To the Centennial Fine Arts Center, which had, of course, the finest accoustics in Ely and among the finest in the whole state. This brought about the task of moving the concert grand piano from the school to the Center. One of the inmates at the Honor Camp had worked in a piano factory in California; so logically the Honor camp would be able to be in charge of the tedious task of safely moving the concert grand.
Not only did the Center become headquarters for the Columbia Artists Concerts but “home” of the concert grand. Nevada State Piano Teachers Association did annual festivals for their students. The festivals always took place in the areas that had concert grands. Thus Ely had become one of the three: Reno, Las Vegas, ELY.
The concert grand attracted additional performances not only within Ely area, but out-of-town and out-of-state. This again is the advantage of being on the National Historical Register, and also the knowledge of such an exceptionally qualified location.
More later – keep watch.