The chamber orchestra partners with Challenge Mountain
PETOSKEY – Expanding public access to live classical music is a central goal of the Petoskey-based Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, a non-profit organization headquartered in downtown Lake Street.
On the heels of its new veterans program, which offers free concert tickets to current and former U.S. service members, the orchestra announced another new initiative, this one in conjunction with Challenge Mountain, an organization that offers adapted leisure activities all year round for people with disabilities. .
Another local nonprofit, Challenge Mountain, was started in 1984 as Northern Michigan’s first independent adaptive ski program. Since then, Challenge Mountain has developed many other inclusive activities outside of skiing, including its popular SPIRIT day camp, equine therapy, camping, kayaking, snowboarding, biking, boating, swimming and a host of other activities, including visual arts, which span the seasons.
The orchestra’s partnership with Challenge Mountain took root last summer when a group of citizens with disabilities visited one of the “Little Bay Live!” outdoor concerts in Pennsylvania Park. There, the orchestra’s general manager, Judith Zorn, and Challenge Mountain program director, Linda Armstrong, agreed that such an association would benefit the expansion goals of both organizations.
For Challenge Mountain, the new venture symbolizes more diverse programming for participants. For the orchestra, the joint venture presents an opportunity to increase public access to live classical music, a central part of the orchestra’s mission.
The first joint outing was on December 15 when a small group of attendees attended a dress rehearsal for the orchestra’s “Messiah” concerts on December 16 and 17 at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts. Armstrong said the tour went very well and attendees responded favorably to the performance.
“That was awesome,” said one attendee, while another thanked the orchestra for the invite.
“By partnering with the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra,” explained Armstrong, “we will be able to add incredible cultural events to our current lineup that would otherwise be beyond the reach of Challenge Mountain, as well as our customers.
“Currently we are able to offer a small number of art workshops to our participants, which at present are mainly visual arts, such as painting, ceramics, papermaking, stained glass and drawing,” Armstrong said. “The performing arts will add such a wide range of cultures and expose them to so many different art forms that they may not have seen before.”
For Zorn and the orchestra, the new partnership is “…perfectly aligned with the orchestra’s mission”, which is to “produce professional live orchestral performances that provide entertainment, education and inspiration. to our northern Michigan communities.”
Zorn said that like the veteran ticket program, the Challenge Mountain program aims to expand public access to the arts in order to achieve the aforementioned three goals.
“The orchestra is pleased to work with Challenge Mountain to expand cultural opportunities for people with disabilities,” said Zorn. “Providing exposure to classical music performances in a concert hall is exciting, educational and inspiring. We plan to continue to provide these opportunities with future concerts.
The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra is an independent, not-for-profit organization that depends on the generosity of public and private donations. More information about both organizations can be found online at www.glcorchestra.com or www.challengemtn.org.