Red Hot Summer For Schroon Lake Arts Council

Artistically and financially, the Schroon Lake Arts Council had an “excellent year”, President Jack Osborne told the group’s annual meeting Tuesday.

“The future looks, very, very bright. The challenge now for the board is how do we keep it going,” Osborne said.

There were several contributing factors to the success of this year’s concert season.

“Advanced sales and credit card sales were well received. My perception is that it put us into a new era”.

Osborne praised the work of the council’s volunteers, “who have stepped up mightily” with the board now down to five members, from its usual roster of seven. “In the future, we will be looking for more assistance.”

Among the hot topics of this performance season  -- the continued success of the Monday night Acoustic Band Jam, another successful Folk Festival, the free children’s programs,  the appearance of the famous country/folk trio Red Molly and the blackout which forced the cancellation of Cajun Combo.

Osborne said one of the board’s mission statements in the coming year is to find ways to make the Arts Council “more visible” in the community. He said he would talk to the board about the potential of having an auxiliary board made up of community members.

One topic which sparked several side discussions was the outstanding success of Red Molly, “which performed a show which blew the doors off” and bought with them to Schroon a new audience: part of their own huge fan base.

Red Molly came to Schroon thanks to a very generous anonymous donor. The show was a sellout with reports that more than 100 folks were turned away at the door. (The Boathouse officially seats 211).

Osborne told the meeting that the donor wanted to “set a new bar” -- of featuring a nationally recognized act, and to see what the impact would be. 

(Economically the Red Molly show was a boost for many businesses in Schroon. Red Molly fans travelled from far and wide, stayed overnight and ate in area restaurants.) 

“The challenge for us is how to change our profile and attract a wider audience. That’s what we are striving for,” Osborne said.

The board voted on and passed several motions -- including raising the ticket prices of concerts to $15 from $12, with the option of variable pricing, depending on the act. The student and children’s tickets would remain at $5.

The increase was in part due to rising costs of booking acts. Performers who charged $650 four years ago, are now charging $1,000.

Another motion was passed to change the wording of the sponsorship categories for members and raising the price of concert sponsorship to $300 from $250.

Several other topics were discussed  -- including changing the Monday Night Jam session to a different night, the possibility of using the Schroon Lake Central School for bigger acts, and bringing more diversified performances to Schroon.

To answer the above questions: The Monday night band jam is not moving nights, there was a vibrant discussion of why the ambiance and acoustics of the Boathouse makes the concert series unique, and the board said it welcomed ideas and suggestions of different acts.

On the subject of using the Schroon Lake Central School? The board would explore the its use as a “back up venue”, in case of another power outage. 

Osborne said the question about using the school for bigger acts had been raised by the board, but it came down to this: Do you want a half full auditorium with a very different ambiance or a full house with everything that makes the Boathouse venue special.

Other discussions included officially recognizing donors in the Art Council’s printed programs and what the best ways were to raise awareness about the acts that play here in the summer.

Plans are underway for another great year, with Acoustic Eidolon already signed on for June 24, 2014.

Did you attend a Schroon Lake Arts Council concert this year? What was your experience? Do you have ideas for acts or performers you’d like to see play here? Tell us in comments.