THE BREVARD MUSIC CENTER Brevard, North Carolina
A YEAR OF CHANGE 1964 - 1965
Heauy Janiec September, 2004
PREFACE Histories of institutions are generally written many years after their founding and necessitate a great deal of research through minutes of meetings, scrapbooks, personal recollections, etc. by a very brave writer who agrees to undertake a very laborious process. The following is not a history though it may serve some purpose when such a history is written. It deals with a major event in the history of the Brevartl Music Center,-
its affiliation with Converse College in December, 1964. Why it happened; how it happened; some.of the people involved; the immediate results; aDd the changes from a tenuous survival to a stable and develcping existence as.a major summer institutioo.
It is impossible for this writer to cite aU.of the people involved in this era of change. There were hundreds of them. Trustees, teachers, staff, students, performing artists, volWlteers, donors.of time and resou~s, foundatioos: and corporations. My apologies,
deep respect, and enormous thanks to aU of them! Hopefully, the listings; in the Center's: .au.nwU yearbooks wiU .acknowledge and cite your importance to the Music Center for a future historian.
PRELUDE The Brevard Music Center traces its beginnings to 1936 at Davidson College in North Carolina James Christian Pfohl was the bead of the music department and he decided to start a summer band camp for boys. As a youngster, he had attended the National Music Camp at Interlochen and he wanted to start a similar institution in his home state. A few years later, with the advent of World War II, most young men had to join the
armed services, so the camp was moved to Queens College in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mter the war, Dr. Pfohl wanted to move his camp to its own venue and he found the fonner C.arolina Camp for Boys in Brevard.The camp started there as a private corporation of four of men, including Dr. Pfohl. Four years later, he bought out his corporate partners and made the project a non-profit educational institution. The title by
which it was known at that time was Transylvania Music Camp and the Brevard Music Center title evolved later. The work by Dr. Pfohl was amazing. He develope.d boards of truste.es, an excellent
faculty. good staffing, impressive performanc.es, and steadily growing re.cognition as a summer music festival with renowned guest soloists. Indeed, music managements and their
artists, and others in the music. business began to know about Brevard. Over the years, as the Center was growing in programs and size, it began to experience an aU-too-often occurence in arts institutions. Cost increases., insuffICient operating income, insufficient contributions, and increasing loans from lending institutions with growing indebw:iness. Eventually, virtually every Brevard season ended with emergency fund drives to pay current bills and make another season possible. Certainly there was no "rainy day" endowment fund: every dollar was needed for c.orrent operations and debts. This tenuous existence reac.he4:f its climax during the 1964 season. The institution had acquired the Dehoo property (the lower lake and the hillside arcreage above it) which
was contiguous to the Center. While this was a master stroke for the future of the Center, there were no finances to deal with it. The only option was to borrow more money from banking institutions. Indeed, the operating budget that summer of 1964 was so strained that faculty salaries were delayed, food services decreased, and morale at its lowest ebb. It was mainly through the personal intelVention and efforts oftrustee Paul Calvert Thomas that the season continued to its completion. Given the tumult of that summer, Dr. Pfohl tendered his resignation at the end of the season. Since he had founded the institution and realistically symbolized it for nearly three decades, the board had not accepted his previous resignations. However, after the 1964 season, and with Dr. Pfohl's physical and emotional exhaustion which resulted in a short hospitalization, they decided that some action had to be taken and the resignation was accepted. The Board of the Center decided that a possible course of action could be an affiliation with an educational institution which had a real "presence" in music. They felt that the Center needed to expand its student base. From its founding, the Center had been selVing primarily pre-college age students. Hoping to attract older students, Dr. Pfohl had earlier approached Converse College for some form of affiliation so that college credit could be available for selected studies at Brevard. Brevard itself could not grant such credit since it was not a full-time institution and could not be accredited. With a college affiliation, credits at Brevard could be made transferrable to students' home institutions. Converse College was fully accredited and had actually been one of the founders of the National Association of Schools of Music which grew to be the largest international accrediting agency in the arts. Dr. Pfohl's discussions with Converse took place in 1963 and 1964 but no final action had been taken. For obvious reasons, expanding the student base and offering college credit were important but hardly the primary concern for the trustees. The Music Center needed
artistic direction, business management, and a major loan of money. Thus" contacts with a number of institutions were initiated. THE SEARCH The trustees contacted seven or eight institutions, mainly in the Carolinas, to seek an affiliation with the Center. Only two institutions ex.pressed an interest in pursuing discussions,- the newly established North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem and Converse College. Paul Calvert Thomas was an industrialist who owned and headed the Moreland Chemical Company in Spartanburg. South Carolina. He was also an avid music lover who played viola as a volunteer in the Spartanburg Symphony Orchestra. He and his wife Josephine (a Converse alumna) bad attended concerts at Brevard for many years He had joined the Center's Board of Trustees, and later served as Chairman and President of the Board. Certainly, he and his wife knew Converse and Brevard well. Paul approached Robert T. Coleman, Jr., President of Converse. explained Brevard's situation, and proposed discussions about a possible affiliation of the College with the Music Center. Dr. Coleman agreed to consider it and internal discussions were started. Eugene N. Crabb was the Dean of the School of Music and had earlier conferred with Jim Pfohl about affiliation. He was also in favor of investigating the possibilities. Some days later, Bob Coleman asked me to come by his office. I'd known Bob from his first days at Converse when he'd come to the College as cruef financial officer and we had an easy and good friendship. When I came into his office, he quickly got to the point "What would you think of Converse taking on a..~stic and business management of the Brevard Music Center?", he asked. I was taken aback. "You've got to be kidding. Brevard is Jim Pfohl's baby. If I'd know Jim for years, had succeeded him as music director of the Charlotte Opera Company and the Charlotte Symphony, and certainly knew about Brevard-
Bob told me of Brevard's situation. Jim Pfohl's resignation, and Brevard's search for affiliation. Since I'd had experience with summer music programs at Tanglewood in Massachusetts and Chautauqua in New York.., he wanted my re.action toa an affiliation. I was immediately enthusiastic about the possibilities for both institutions. After initial consultations with the Converse Board ofTrustees~ Dr. Coleman asked me to write a working proposal. What could Converse "bring to the table" for Brevard? The proposal would exclude any financial ammgements since those would necessarily be
decided by trustees of both institutions if the matter got that far. I knew that my faculty colleague John McCrae had joined Dean Crabb in those earlier discussions about coI1ege credit. with Jim Pfohl. I felt that one of Converse's strong offerings was in opem and we would want to take that to Brevard. John and I had come to Converse the same year, and we'd worked together for years at the College, in Charlotte. and at Chautauqua. I wanted his ideas about the affiliation and the feasibility of opera at Brevard.
Mter a week or so of meetings, disc.ussions. and thought, I wrote and submitted a proposal which outlined our ideas to Bob Coleman and Gene Crabb. The main points were: 1. Since Converse and Brevard were devoted in mission and pmctice to the same ends, the affiliation could be a natural combination of strengths for both. 2 That both institutions would retain and maintain their separate indentities and directions through their individual boards of trustees. 3. That Converse would not c.hange the essential educational and performance character of the Music Center but would initiate such new programs and pmcticesas to build enrollments., audiences, financial viability. and direction for the future development of the Center. These would include such things as:
-Sa. Stability and individualized character of pelfonning groups b. Opera and musical comedy. c~
Introduction of limited Pops concerts.
d. Possible later inclusion of programs in other art forms. 4. That Converse would create and certify college credit for qualified students in a reasonable offering in applied music (private lessons), ensembles (orchestra.. band, opera.., etc.), music theory and composition, and music history. Said credit-bearing offerings would be approved by the Curric.ulum Committee of the School of Music at Converse. and trnnscripts of such credit would be available for transfer through the Registrar's Office of the College. S. That the fiscal condition of the Center would be the primary concern in aU matters; noting, however, that the completion of the new auditorium and rehabilitation of the cafeteria had to be accomplished by the 1965 season. (The cafeteria had been essentially "rondemned" by the Health Department. and the new audiforium was critical to the pelforming format and significant increase in audience attraction. ) After approval by Dean Crabb and President Coleman, Converse's proposal was submitted to the Brevard trustees. As indicated earlier, only one other positive response to Brevard's search was received, corning from the North Carolina School of the Arts. Vittorio Giannini, a prominent American composer whom I had known from my Chautauqua days, had been on the Brevard faculty in years past and was now (in 1964) appointed President of the School of the Arts. At this time, the School was not yet in actual operation but had proposed an annual appropriation of $25,000 to Brevard and would, in effect, use Brevard as an extension of its programs and faculty at Winston-Salem. This arrangement was quite different from Converse's proposaL
THEAFFIUAnON After much deliberation, visits to Brevard by some Converse trustees., and legal consultations, the trustees of both institutions approved the affiliation under the following
~ ~ , L.--L The two ~..Ions wt;;;; be affiliated .. _ _ ~dislinct emili...
C~Uld in no way "own" the Brevard Music Center but would
2 The ,-
supply artistic and business management through a mutually agreed upon artistic director and such business management as determined by the trustees of both institutions.
3. The College would make a loan of $125,000 to the Music Center at a six-percent interest rate.
4. Specified staff people at Converse would serve as officers to the Brevard board.
5. A specified number of Converse trustees.and/or Converse representatives would also join the Brevard board. The following Converse people would serve as officers to the Brevard board: Henry Janiec as Artistic Director (Faculty member) Eugene Crabb as Secretary (.Dean of the School of Music) Mahlon Coles as Treasurer (College Business Manager) The foUowing Converse representatives would join the BMC board: Mrs. T. Kenneth Cribb (alumna) Mrs. Benjamin Johnson (alumna) Willis Kuhn (trustee) Carlos Moseley (trustee, President of NY Philhannoruc) F~
Glenn Stables (Emeritus music professor) Robert Wood (trustee) The continuing Music Center trustees were: Harry Boyd Edmund Campbell Frank Carr Mrs. Carl Durham
Sara Mann Everett Rosetta French Ralph Harrington William Keith Mrs. Alex King
Julius Sader Earle Sargent S.P. Stowe Paul Thomas
-7The following were the officers of the Boar~ S.P. Stowe, Jr. - Chainnan Paul Thomas - President Earle Sargent - Vice-Cbainnan Willis Kuhn - Vice-Chairman (Note - President Coleman was not formally on the BMC Board until 1967 when he succeeded Eugene Crabb as ex officio secretary. He did, however, attend meetings and work on behalf of Brevard from 1964.) The affiliation between the two institutions was publicly announced in a press
conference in Wilson Hall at Converse College on December 4, 1964. The action got significant press coverage and announcements were sent to every source we could identify, hoping to assure the public that the Center was indeed going to continue. Most particularly, the many creditors to whom the Center owed money needed to know of this reorganization. While many of them could have "pulled the plug" through litigation, none of them chose to do so and they decided to adopt a "look, see" posture. SEVEN MONfHS TO SEASON 1965 So there we were. Or rather, where were we? BMC had a total debt of some $410,000. This included an inherited debt of some $285,000 plus the loan of $125,000 from Converse College. We had an auditorium which was far from complete, a c.afeteria which needed "major surgery", no faculty or support staff hired, no student recruitment materials mailed or even printed, no guest artists hired, no season tickets sold, and certainly no fund drive approved or implemented. My wife and I had visited the Center just prior to the affiliation. Janice had been a student at BMC as a youngster. I had seen BMC only once when a group of us were going to Highlands and John McCrae insisted that we stop at the Center. (He had been a guest singer there that summer.) I~ was a very hotday with dust blowing everywhere.
It was hard to believe that this housed the famed music festival.
Without question, the most valuable member of our staff was Paul Thomas. Since he lived and worked in Spartanburg, there was rarely a day when he didn't come to our office to be my own "sounding board" on virtually every matter, and to encourage all of liS in his quiet and always-wise way. And since he had been the key player in Brevard's affiliation with Cooverse, his presence "on the sc.ene" in our office and at Converse itself was priceless. As indicated in our proposal toward the affiliation, Converse would not change the essential educational and perfonnance character of the Music Center. We now felt that it was essential to make this obvious to the various constituencies of the institution. We would retain as much staff and faculty as possible, keep the perfonnance calendar the same, and emphasize.continuity rather than "revolution".
I contacted Emil Raab and Robert Barr and asked them to come to Spartanburg to discuss the faculty and staff. Both of them had been at BMC for years, ex.cellent musicians
themselves, and respected leaders on the campus and with our audiences. Together, we decided to issue contracts to virtually all of the 1964 faculty and staff.
On the business side, while financial matters were now to be handled by MahJon Coles at Converse. we needed a full-time manager in the daily operation itself. I'd known Craig Hankenson at Chautauqua where he'd been the manager of the opel'll company. He was now in California, serving an arts management internship on a Ford Foundation grant I called him immediately and offered the manager's position to him. He accepted, joined
us a few weeks later and stayed with us for three seasons before going on to head the festivals at Saratoga and Wolftrap. We also needed to engage principal administrative people for the summer. Frank Little was a singer who was ~oing some graduate work at Converse and working in the
College's Public Relations area. He came to Brevard for the summer as Publicity Director. (He later went on to sing at the Met.)
Ross Magoulas was a graduate of Converse, teaching in Georgia, and an excellent singer/actor who could do many things for us. He was hired as our Registrar, and later became one of our opera directors. The opera program was a new venture and we needed an experienced person as producer/director to launch this program. As indicated earlier, John McCrae and I had worked together in opera and theater for more than a decade and he surely had the experience that we needed. He was Professor of Voice at Converse and we could "plot" opera at Brevard throughout the year. We also had to act on the two major plant projects, - the completion of the auditorium and the dining area. These tasks were taken on by Mahlon Coles, contracting the architects (Six Associates in Asheville, NC) for the auditorium, and then personally travelling to military disposal centers which sold discontinued equipment to educational institutions. These trips produced ovens, stoves, and other equipment at bargain prices for the cafeteria building. Saga Foods had handled the food operation at Converse for some years and we hired them to do the same for us in the summer. This move was greeted with great delight by all of our summer people! We had to immediately start recruiting students for the season. Agnes Hamilton and I wrote a new brochure with the help of David Reid, publicity director at Converse, a good friend, and wonderful actor/director in theater. By the end of January, the brochures were in the mail to every source we could think of. Carole Barnette took on the in-house recruitment work as well as serving as Craig Hankenson's secretary. And of course, there was the money problem. We had to identify sources of support and structure a development program. Converse's President Robert Coleman was always available with wise counsel. As his busy schedule pennitted, he and I went "on the road" in the Carolinas to identify future trustees and contacts for Brevard. One such contact by Dr. Coleman and trustee Carlos Moseley helped Brevard enonnously. They had
approached the Avalon Foundation in New York City for a grant to Converse College but found that the foundation's guidelines did not pennit such a grant at that time. However, they learned that the foundation did support programs in the arts, so they immediately suggested a grant to the Brevard Music Center. After we prepared a proposal and I had gone to New York to meet with a foundation member, we received a grant of $50,000 the next year. You can imagine the impact that this generous grant had on our finances! $50,000 is always a lot of money, but in 1965-66, it was a "whole lot" more. BUILDING THE SEASON Now things were moving. The auditorium work was progressing. Saga Foods people helped with the installation of new equipment in the dining hall. Repair work and painting of other structures was going on, including the efforts of Paul Thomas and fellow trustee Earle Sargent. This twosome recruited Harley Owen to help in moving several practice cabins from moist. dank locations near the lower lake's stream to higher ground (where they stand to this day). The auditorium had no parking area as such. Richard Webel, an internationally famed landscape artist, was doing some work at Converse and Wofford Colleges in Spartanburg and was persuaded (probably by Bob Coleman and Paul Thomas) to visit Brevard and offer suggestions for immediate and future work. While we couldn't afford a true parking lot this year, we did some work on the open field above the auditorium to serve the purpose for the present This also involved the razing of several old structures to make better road accesses. Two years later, Mr. WebeI gave us some excellent ideas about new construction and landscaping for the future. Over the next few months, our 5O-member faculty was contracted and another 50 stafTpeopJe (deans, counselors,librarians, crews, etc.) were hired. As we'd expected, student enrollments moved slowly but we hoped to have at least 200-250 students for the season
On Febroary 28, 1965, the new board of trustees met at Converse College, mainly to"attac1c" the finances oftbe Center. Mahloo Coles and I presented a revised operating m~j of approximately
$142,000 which was approved. We also reported on the activity
that had taken place since the Decembei4th affiliation. Mter much discussion, trustee Bill Kuhn summarized by saying, "There's nothing wrong with Brevard that some money can't cure!" With that, he pledged $10,000 if the rest of the trustees could pledge, giv~, or get an additional $90JX)O. This would serve as the impetus for an im~ate development
drive to total $417,500. This funding would be dedicated to plant projects ($212,500) and debt retirement ($205,(XXÂť. By the end of the season, we bad some $200,(XX) in hand.
I also pointed out the need for a healthy scholarship program, especially if we were to build enrollment of college-age and older students. In the past, budgc!ts showed $1 O,<XX) in scholarship awards, but we found that much of this was really tuition waivers and was not funded. I asserted that we would not do this: aU scbo1arsbip awards had to be funded completely. The trustees agreed. (We managed to raise $19,970 restricted to scholarship awaros for that 1965 season.)
OPERA. AT BREVARD Now we had to start building the season itself. I decided that we had to start with repertoire for our new opera program. So much of the other programming would be affec.ted by the staged productions.,- personnel. rehearsal schedules. guest artists., space, etc~
John McCrae and I had worked with a summer schedule of 6 showspe.r season at Chautauqua We decided to do the same at Brevard. This would be a chaUe.f1ge since ours were to be completely stage.d and costumed productions with students in many roles. We would have to be build our own sets, make as many costumes as possible, borrow theater lights wherever we could (mainly Converse) ,and work with a skeleton staff.
Craig Hankenson was experienced in opera, so the three of us began discussing choices of shows. Craig had heard that George Schick, the Music Consultant at the Met, was forming a small group of young singers to learn and produce Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte" under a grant from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music. The opera would be double cast and they would give their performances in New York. Might they be interested in coming to Brevard to do a performance with our orchestra in the pit? Not only would this save a "mound" of work for us with that one opera, but it would also be a symbofic "gem" to be associated with a man of Schick's stature, reputation, and position with the Metropolitan Opera. What a way to launch a new program at Brevard! Craig got in touch with Mr. Schick and he was interested in exploring the possibilities with us. Craig and I flew to New York and bad lunch witb Mr. ScJticf across the street from the old Met. After we described what we had in mind at Brev~rd, Mr. Schick. said he'd be delighted to bring his group to us and to conduct the performance himself. Of course, he had to get approval and some additional funding from the Rock.efeller Fund, which he did in the next few days after our luncheon. The rest of the opera season thenfeI1 into place. We would open with a less difficult and expensive double bill,- Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" and Weill's "Down in the Valley". Two weeks later we would do Rossini's "Cenerentola" ("Cinderella"), and two weeks later Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor". Then for the three-week festival, we would do "Cosi fan tutte" with Mr. Schick and his group, and the last two productions would be Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" and Irving Berlin's "Annie, Get Your Gun". "Annie" was the first Broadway musical done at Brevard and would be quite a precurser for our future. Now ,- how would we get a staff to handle this kind ofIine-up? We went to our friends in the opera business! Charles Rosekrans was a coach and assistant conductor at Chautauqua. He came to BMC as head coach and a regular conductor.
-14Edward Gallagher was a terrific set designer whom John and I had known at Chautauqua. He was delighted to come to Brevard, especially since his wife, Patti, was a singer to whom we could give some performing opportunities. James Parker headed the theater department at Converse and came to us as costumer and dramatic coach. He made costumes for several shows and we rented others. Tom Trobaugh was a young coach we had heard about and he came to us as our second coach. His career grew later as a professional coach and accompanist. Peggy McGrath was a young woman born into a theater family. Her father built sets for the Spartanburg Little Theater for many years. Peggy came to us as stage manager, painter, and virtually everything else that needed to be done. William Partridge was chorus master and organist at Converse. He came to us as chorus master and teacher of music theory. Other jobs were filled with the people we had. We couldn't afford a make-up artist, so John McCrae and our voice teachers held training sessions for our students, teaching them to do their own make-up. Props were handled by a young opera workshop assistant. And the rest of the crew was made up of opera students 00 work scholarships and other young people who wanted to do this kind of work for room, board, and a very modest stipend. It was a massive operation, especially for a first year. Thankfully, everyone was enthusiastic and developed that "Brevard Family" spirit to succeed. Our season was really set on its way by Licia Albanese, one of the greatest operatic sopranos in the world who was to sing with our BMC Orchestra on the weekend which included our first operas. She came to the opening night of opera at Brevard, after which she came backstage and "raved" about the productions to all the singers, staff, press people and everyone else she encountered. Coming from "the" Licia Albanese, that was monumental encouragement! A true artist and a wonderful lady.
GUEST ARTISTS Having chosen our opera repertoire, we now had to program the rest of the season. We had nine weeks of performances and very limited funds. We would use some of our faculty people for solo spots and some young artists whose fees would be modest. But I felt that the key to selling our season was to book some legendary artists with real "star power". Seeing and hearing such artists was basic to our students' experience at Brevard and should increase ticket sales. Again, I went to a friend. I'd known William "BiW Alexander for years when he travelled the Southeast for Columbia Artists Management of New York and had booked guest artists for us in Spartanburg and Charlotte. He also knew Brevard since he had booked artists there for Jim Pfohl and was aware of our current situation. (Bill became one of Brevard's great saviors over the years. (After his retirement, he joined Brevard's Board of Trustees and served for many years.) I travel1ed to New York to meet with Bill and presented him with a "package" of his artists and the fee we could afford to spend on it. He gasped at the package and the money (as he did each season for the next 30+ years) but we eventually came to a list of artists at our price which I thought would serve us well. Of course, Bill had to go to the managers of each individual artist on the list and persuade them to our prices which, as always, he did. The list included soprano Licia Albanese, pianist Lee Luvisi who agreed to join our piano faculty and stayed with us for a number of years, violinist Charles Treger, pianist Ivan Davis, cellist Aldo Parisot, tenor Brian Sullivan, pianist Jerome Lowenthal, and mezzo sopranos Jennie Tourel and Jean Madeira. Miss Tourellater had to cancel due to serious health problems and we booked Met baritone Thomas Hayward in her place. We also had to get some guest singers for the operas. Given the works we had selected for our first season, we had to have some "imports" for roles that couldnl"
realistically be taken by students in this first year of our opera program. We needed a baritone and tenor on our faculty to take given major roles, so we hired tenor James Wainner and baritone William Guthrie. For the female "imports", John McCrae and I went
again to our friends. These included mezzo sopranos Elizabeth Mannion and Nancy Williams, baritone James Morrison, and sopranos Jane Frazier Coker (Rolandi) and Maria Ferriero. Faculty wives Janice Janiec, Joyce Hankenson, and Patti Gallagher took roles. All of these imported guest artists, concerts and opera, cost us a grand total of $13,700!! Today's fees for comparable artists would be many multiples of that total. It gives new meaning to "the good old days"!" OTHERPROGRAMMUNG And now the internal planning of repertoire for our four orchestra, two bands, the choral program, chamber music, pops concerts, student recitals, etc. We plotted the schedule week-by-week.. with some type of performance on virtually every day of the season (excepting the final three weeks of 3 major performances each.) I was particularly eager to have good week-end "packages" which might tempt people to spend several days at Brevard rather than just one-day trips. L I did the programming for the BMC Orchestra and the Pops concerts. 2. The conductors of the large performing groups were informed of their dates and asked to submit suggested programming to me. I asked them particularly to use the existing libraries (BMC and Converse) as much as possible since purchases and rentals could pose a financial problem this season. As the suggested listings came in, I would check for possible duplications
and then finalize each program. 3. Faculty members were asked to submit suggestions for chamber and solo repertoire from which we put together those programs.
-174. Special programs, run-outs, and student recitals could not be pre-planned and were put together "on site" during the season. POPS CONCERTS As we had stated in our proposaJ toward affiliation, we wanted to initiate a limited number of Pops concerts, something which not been done as regular fare at the Center in the past. Pops was a "natural" for Brevard at this time. 1. We needed to attract old and new audiences. Pops concerts, particularly during summer seasons, attracted larger audiences. At Brevard, they might also attract Pops-goers to come back to other concerts. 2. With the opera program in place, we would obviously have singers for lighter repertoire. Pops would afford more performing opportunities for students, show our BMC talent to more people, and certainly create a warmer, informal feeling between stage and audience. I'd had experience with Broadway shows and Pops concerts but certainly didn't want to make Pops a central enterprise for Brevard. Ours was an educational program and Pops repertoire should only playa limited role in the students' experience at Brevard. Therefore, we decided to have only 3 Pops concerts, one every other week of the educational session and none during the Festival weeks. For repertoire, I copied the Pops concerts done by my friend Walter Hendl at Chautauqua. Walter was principal conductor of the Chautauqua Symphony for many years. At his request, I'd trained a Pops chorus for him one summer, the singers being choristers in the Opera Company where I was conducting. I'd seen what really "worked" for Chautauqua with their enormous audiences. The real "biggies" were package shows, the music of a particular Broadway composer or team of writers. And the biggest of the "biggies路 were the ones I chose for Brevard: Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, and George Gershwin. And they really worked for us at Brevard.
THE 1965 SFASON BEGINS So now it was late June. Show Time, Final Exams, Triumph or Tragedy!! The faculty and staff was on hand. 219 enrolled students arrived, 31 of them in the Advanced Division (college-age and older). The Auditorium was completed and the cafeteria in operation. The credit-bearing courses for college students were in place. Catherine Rembert, a noted artist and teacher from Columbia, SC had been on the staff at Brevard in past years and returned to organize a series of visual art exhibits in the Lodge on the upper lake. And Harley Owen was "on call" for problems in various buildings and with systems (electricity, water, sewerage, killing snakes, etc!) We bad designated the Brevard Music Center Orchestra as our signature group The morning after the faculty and some selected students arrived, we congregated on the stage of the new auditcrium for a check cf acoustics and the start of rehearsals for the opening week of concerts. Acoustics is called an "inexact" science, and rightly so. Many, many concert halls and opera theaters can attest to that! What did we have in our new auditorium? I started the rehearsal with the "Star-Spangled Banner, just as Jim Pfohl had begun every concert (and we continued to this day), and then launched into Wagner's "Prelude to Meistersinger". We read through it without stopping. I saw that Paul Thomas and John McCrae had come to listen and were out in the audience. After reading through the Prelude, I left the podium and went out to them. "How does it sound?" Both of them had tears streaming down their cheeks. I took this to be a
positive sign! So I asked one of the other conductors to do the Prelude again so I could listen from the audience area. I didn't cry, but a great sigh of relief was beard by all and the orchestra players were smiling. We were in business! The first two events were chamber music by faculty members. The big auditorium was hardly the place for chamber music, but we wanted people to see the place as soon as
possible. The third event was a Brevard Showcase which we opened to the public. Three orchestras. some opera scenes, the two bands, and the chorus took turns on the stage. OUT stage
crew had a "merry time" changing chairs and music stands, much to the
amusement of the audience. I did a bit of emcee-ing during the stage changes, but the audience was really just enjoying the seeming chaos behind me. The formal opening concert took place on Saturday, July 3rd with the Wagner Prelude, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, Vaughan Williams' "Serenade to Music" with a dozen singers from the opera group, and Liszt's "Les Preludes. We certainly didn't have a full-house audience, but they applauded generously. The next day, the Fourth of July, was the formal dedication of Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium, named for Bishop and Mrs. J. Kenneth Pfohl, Jim Pfohl's parents. We had invited Terry Sanford to be our principal speaker and he gratiously accepted, He was the former Governor and a future United States Senator from North Carolina. He had also been a great supporter of the arts and had known the Pfohls. Bishop and Mrs. Pfohl and Jim and his wife, Louise, arrived in a limousine at the front of the Auditorium where a commemorative plaque had been affixed. Then we all came on stage,- the Pfohl family members, the trustee officers of the Music Center, members of the clergy, representatives of the town of Brevard, the Chorus, and LIn the orchestra pit was our BMC Orchestra with James Yestadt conducting. All of the visitors on stage made short talks, lauding the Center and Jim Pfohl's work and I did a special tribute to Jim. Since this was understandably a difficult time for Jim, he did not want to speak on the program. There was a nice audience in attendance and the ceremony went well. Craig Hankenson had arranged a fireworks display on the far side of the upper lake (where the Alumni House now stands) and we invited the townspeople to join us for that. Granted, it wasn't a Super Bowl extravaganza but it capped a good day in the history of the Music Center.
-20Then we turned to the maze of activity that is the Brevard season. Long days and many nights, "putting out fires" when problems arise, and so much more. But the rest of the season went amazingly well, given the fact that so many of us were completely new to Brevard. We had no sold-out events, prompting a few of the trustees to comment that we'd over-built our auditorium which then had a bit more than 1,000 seats. This view soon changed as audiences did indeed start to grow, so much so that we had to add several hundred new seats in the next few years and then to sell lawn seating for sell-outs. AFfER THAT ARST SEASON The 1965 season ended on Sunday, August 20th. We were all drained physically and emotionally. It seemed that we had worked for a year which had been compacted into 10 weeks. But there was the satisfaction that we'd not only survived but could see a lot of "light at the end of the tunnel" for the future of BMC. The greatest satisfaction came from the real "Brevard Family" feeling in our staff. students, and trustees. It is impossible to praise the faculty and staff enough. No one referred to a "job description". If ajob needed to be done, no one said "It's not my job." Instead, the usual response was "When do you need it done?" We had instituted controlled teaching loads for the faculty, and the daily schedules of classes, private lessons, and rehearsals were adhered to "by the clock", something which had not always been the case in the past. This did a great deal for morale. And the music-making reflected this spirit day after day, event after event, and showed clearly in the perfonnance of our students. They were part of that Brevard Family and they needed to excel to emulate their mentors. They saw, first hand, that a "passing grade" of 70% was far from sufficient in musical performance. A grade of 70 meant that 30% of the performance was poor, and that just couldn't work in music.
ft was barely 9 months after the affiliation. and where were we vis-a-vis the future? The financial picture was certainly mixed. We had a massive debt, a late start in student recruitment. and an understandable "look. see" attitude among old and new supporters of the Music Center. We had revised our operating budget to $149,000 and ended the fiscal year with an operating deficit of some $34.000. The operations were not the sole "culprit" in this deficit. We had no budgetary vehicle for debt service so all expenditures had to be paid from the same "pocket". But there were also encouraging elements. We'd had a record box office for a BMC season. Ticket sales in 1964 had produced $8,900. Single ticket sales increased some 105% in 1965 to $18,244 and season tickets produced $10,470. We had believed that opera and Pops would help the income stream, and indeed they did. They produced $8,588 of single ticket sales ($5,790 from opera, $2,798 from Pops), nearly the entire single ticket income for the previous season. The production of"Annie" produced the highest ticket income of the year. We'd had to spend large sums on the major plant projects. We paid off a substantial amount of inherited debts to local and area creditors. But we also had to "live" from month to month, so cashflow was a problem. The Center's annual earning period was a short one,- from the start of student fee payments to the end of the season itself. The trustees approved an additional bank loan of $ I 50,000 which was guaranteed by Converse. Here too, there were encouraging factors. Trustee Bill Kuhn's challenge to the trustees was starting to produce results. We had announced a development drive of $417.500 and had some $200,000 in hand by the end of the season. We learned that an annual drive for scholarship funds was a real source for the future and we felt that we now had a better "product" to sell to foundations and corporations for grants.
-22TOWARD THE FUTURE We'd learned a great deal in that first season. Some things had jumped out at us as needing study, revision, or change. 1. The season format of a six-week educational program and three weeks of Festival really didn't work to our advantage. Certainly it was exhausting for everyone; but there were other factors. Closing the season in late August was not wise. Some of our faculty and best student performers had to get back to full-time jobs or to classes. Hiring other musicians for the Festival was an expense that we didn't need. Audiences also thinned as summer residents were leaving the area. And was it wise to send most of the students home and depri ve them of the major guest artists and productions of the Festival? 2. Not all students were taking private lessons. They had the option of electing lessons at an added cost. If they couldn't afford that, they missed the opportunity to study with our excellent teachers. We needed to institute a comprehensive fee which would include room, board, tuition, and a weekly private lesson for AU..., enrolled students. This would necessitate a modest increase in fees but could be off-set for needy students by a larger scholarship fund. 3. Run-out concerts were a self-defeating practice. Ifwe took concerts to regional venues, we weren't bringing those people to Brevard. The "magic" of Brevard and bringing people to ~ to experience it was absolutely basic to building audiences and institutional growth.
-234. Student recruitment had to be more than just a mailed brochure. We needed more activity in this area from our faculty, and we needed to expand some special short-term offerings before, during. and after the season to bring newer constituencies to the Center. For instance, special workshops for inservice teachers could increase both income from tuitions and our recruiting base. The participants could well recommend Brevard to their students. 5. Cashflow would probably be a problem for some time. Could we do some things to generate funds earlier than the season itself? a. We did not have reserved seating in our new auditorium. Our season ticket sales were very modest. We needed to announce some major events for the next season at the end of a current season and offer reserved seating to season ticket holders. This could be very tempting for it would "guarantee" a favorite seat for them and income from pre-sales would help cashflow. b. We needed to plan and start work toward an endowment fund through wills and bequests, remainder trusts, etc. Earnings from endowment certainly help. 6. The building of audiences and constituencies is much like the merchantising of consumer products. It is similar in that it relies heavily on advertising and public presence. If you hear a lot about something, you might be tempted to try it In the case of the arts, one deals with the discretionary entertainment dollar and competition from many other "fun" attractions. We had to launch major efforts to woo the press, radio and television, billboard space, and other advertising "gimmickry" on a greater basis.
7. We needed teaching space. Private lessons, theory classes, seminars, etc. had to use the practice shacks, the Lodge, the Library, the Dorbritz Cabin, and other inadequate places.
8. The affiliation with Converse was working well and the practical, day-to-day operation at Brevard relied heavily on it. Both institutions owned impressive performance instruments and libraries and both institutions borrowed from one another easily. Brevard also needed lighting equipment, music stands, chairs, etc., etc., and these were borrowed. Converse had a large storage cellar under Wilson Hall (the main building) where things such as old files and records, old furniture, discontinued chinaware, student writing desks, blackboards, etc. had "resided" for many years. These things could not be sold and the space was needed for annual storage. President Coleman decided that Brevard could put things other than College files and records to good use. So, a truck was loaded and sent "up the mountain" to the Center. All of this was an enormous boon to the Center but long-term, Brevard had to build toward internal self-sufficiency.
It would be a long haul, but we had to work in that direction.
TOWARD SFASON 1966 Action on the above areas was proposed to and approved by the Trustees. The season was changed to six and a half weeks (seven week-ends) and the whole season as Festival with all students on hand. The faculty and staff would arrive four days before the students. Some of the opera staff,- specifically the set-construction people, were asked to arrive an extra week: earlier since they had to start building sets immediately.
-25We instituted a comprehensive fee which included the private lessons. Students who wanted more private instruction would pay a modest extra fee. Students who opted not to have lessons, (like singers who preferred not to study with a new teacher who might want to change their vocal techniques) could do so but they received no discount in the comprehensive fee. Run-out concerts were to be phased out and no new off-campus concerts were to be accepted. Some smaller off-campus performances (chamber music, singers, and such) were continued if they had direct potential to build audiences and/or financial support for the Center. And the following occurred prior to or during the 1966: Curricular and New Promms Trial programs in dance and visual arts were started. A Special Student Division was started for non-enrolled students desiring private lessons on a space-available basis. A noted lecturer series was instituted, also on a trial basis. A short-term Conductor Training program was instituted. A two-week program for in-service school music teachers was offered for college credit. The Repertory Training Program was created with an initial grant of $10,000 from the Rockefeller Foundtion. (fhe success of this program resulted in an additional three-year grant of $30,000 from the Foundation.) A program for 5 students from Central America was created and run by alumnus and staff member Joseph Robinson with aid and funding fromThe Presser Foundation and embassies of those countries. Finances and Plant Annual appropriations to the Center from the North Carolina Legislature was reinstituted after having been curtailed the previous year due to misunderstanding that the Center had been sold to Converse College. When it was pointed out that the Center was and would remain a North Carolina institution, the funding was restored. The grant of $50,000 from the Avalon Foundation was received.
-26A grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation was received The development drive continued to a new goal of$5(X),OOO with nearly half the sum contributed or pledged. Agreements for private cottages on Bishops Knoll were codified by the Trustees to clarify that such cottages reverted to the Music Center on the death of the builder and could be resold by the Center. A bequest of $20,()()() from the estate of Mrs. Alexander, the mother of Mrs. Paul Thomas, was used for the rehabilitation of Pfohlio studio and renamed the Alexander House. Trustees began plans for the creation of an Endowment through wills and bequests and remainder trusts. The tennis courts and infirmary received "serious" repairs. A "trolley servic,e" was instituted and run by Craig Hankenson for audience members who had to park a distance from the auditorium or who had gone to the Lodge for the current art exhibit. Several outside groups expressed an interest in using the Center's facilities in our off-season months. The old Pierce-Moore Hotel in the town of Brevard was leased for the summer to accomodate some of our staff as well as people from the Saga Foods operation. Trustee Sara Mann Everett volunteered to serve as "house mother" for the season. Scholarships The annual scholarship drive increased to $47,604, more than doubling 1965's total of $ 19,970! Trustee Rosetta French revived the Faith In American Youth scholarship drive for scholarships. Trustee Dicksie Cribb got the South Carolina Federation of Music Oubs to pledge scholarships for South Carolina Students. Trustees Paul Thomas and Earle Sargent got scholarship aid from the Spartanburg and Greenville, SC community foundations for students from their cities. Visibility, Advertisin&, Public Relations Contacts with regional press, radio, and television markedly increased through personal visits and invitations to season events.
-27The National Advisory Council of BMC was established with trustee William Stevens as chainnan and Governor Dan Moore as honorary chainnan. With the help of John Eversman. a music teacher in Brevard. the Mutual Network aired programs of music from Brevard. (These would later leave Mutual and go to National Educational Radio.) Radio and television ads were prepared and used in virtually all regional outlets with great help from WSPA in Spartanburg. A movie for the American Music Council was filmed at Brevard.
AND INTO THE fUfURE
So there we were just nine months after the affiliation with Converse College. We had survived well. The faculty and staff were enthusiastic and effective. The music was generally excellent for enthusiastic audiences. The creditors were gradually being paid and the banking institutions in full support of what we were doing. Of course, we were not "out of the woods" financially. We still had to borrow
money for cashflow and debt service in addition to the cost of operations. Therefore. the annual deficits continued for a number of years. We'd identified areas of the total operation to study and work on, with particular revisions or changes to be instituted for the 1966 season. Those changes were put into place. How did those changes hold up long-term? What did they lead to beyond 1966 itself? Just a short capsulized look at those: 1. The debt continued. It was consolidated in 1970 to Brevard Federal Bank and the loan from Converse was repaid. By 1970 we were operating without deficit. showing a surpluses of some $30.000 in that year and $72,000 in 1971.
-282. Cashflow was finally improved. In 1970, trustee Bill Stevens got a
challenge grant of $50,000 from the Broyhill Foundation. $25,000 of this sum went to the building of the Broyhill Administration Building and the rest used for cashflow. We no longer had to borrow money in the off-season months to pay our bills. 3. The continuing development drives kept a balance of about $250,000, most of it being used in the Plant Fund (buildings, repairs, etc.) 4. We began to get restricted grants from various sources. A grant of $20,600 from the RockefeHer Foundation to institute a teacher-aide program in 1970. After that trial season, the Foundation granted $ 100,000 for a three-year continuation of the program. A programming grant from the National Endowment for the
Humanities. Annual unrestricted funding from the North Carolina Legislature continued. 5. A program for letters of intent (wills and bequests) totalled some $350,000 by 1970, spurred on with a remainder trust from Robert Wood who served as Chairman of our Board for a number of years. We received a bequest from the estate of Glenn Stables, a late trustee, and $25,000 for a scholarship fund in honor of Adelaide Hill, a fine musician and generous supporter of the Center. Trustee Robert Edge got several gifts of stock from Miss Vera Milner of Atlanta, Georgia, and the William Burt Fund for scholarships was established in 1972 by Nan Burt. The above were held as restricted funds at first as Securities (19fT) and Investments (1978) until 1981 when a fonnal Endowment Fund was established and so named. At that point, it amounted to $248,821, most of it restricted to scholarships. (At this writing, the Music Center's endowment totals several million dollars.)
-296. Annual donations were increasing. The trustees were generous and the list of contributors in our annual yearbook continued to increase. Several houses on Bishop's Knoll were resold, and we booked several pre-season conferences for the Unitarian church for $25,000 per conference. Finally in 1978, Brevard Music Center was debt free!! And since that year, the Center has never had a deficit in operations or any major indebtedness. 7. The physical plant and property were also growing. Sargent Dorm was built in 1967, the Stables Teaching complex in 1968, the Teszlerfaculty house also in 1968, the Everett House given to the Center in 1970, Melody Dorm built in 1970, Sykes Donn in 1972, and the Broyhill Administrative Building also in 1972. An extension of the Dining Hall was done in 1972. Through Bill Stevens, several vans of furniture were donated by the Broyhill Furniture Company. And a new practice cabin was donated by Sigma Alpha Iota, a major fraternity in music. Several years later, the Composer's Studio and a maintenance grant were made by Mu Phi Epsilon fraternity. The Purdy cottages on the corner of our lower entrance were purchased
as were the Kitchens buildings at the comer of the upper road entrance. This contiguous property completed our land holdings except for one private residence below Bishop's Knoll. On Bishop's Knoll, houses were built by Marjorie Burke (1967), Paul Thomas in 1967, and Earle Sargent a few years later.
-308. Enrollments gradually increased to our goal of 300-325 and remained there until the mid-1990's when they increased to the 400 range. Short-term institutes and half-season enrollments in piano increased the mix in every season. The Advanced Division grew as we had hoped to about 33% of our full-time enrollment. And our scholarship funds grew to nearly
$95,000 in 1971, exclusive of scholarships which students brought with them from various music clubs, service clubs. etc.
9. And finally. our audiences continued to grow and income from season and single tickets was substantial, always led by opera, operetta, Broadway musicals, and Pops sales. Seating capacity was expanded over the years to a current 1,800 plus lawn chairs for overflow crowds. And the existence of a volunteer Brevard Music Center Association since 1979 has been an incredible boon to the institution in its services and financial help. CODA As indicated in the Preface, the above pages are not a history of a time in the life of the Brevard Music Center. At best, they may serve as a modest resource for a future historian. Understandably, one might expect a piece like this to deal with the musicmaking at an institution devoted to music and its practitioners. But as you can see, this writer chose another "path". Far too many organizations and institutions in music have ceased to exist despite the gJorious music they once made. The causes of such demises are many but they virtually always come down to structural andlorfinancial factors. The Brevard Music Center seemed to be approaching such an end, and these pages address its escape from that fate. The Center had been making glorious music and trained hundreds of talented young people for more than a quarter century. That music-making and teaching needed to be preserved
The "saving" of Brevard in the 1960's resulted from the work of many, many people. Their ideas and efforts happened to work very well for Brevard. And perhaps these pages might be of some help to others involved in other music arenas. This writer retired from the Center in 1996 after some 32 years of annual "adventures" which go on to this day at Brevard. Thankfully, survival is no longer Brevard's challenge. It is now a case of striving and succeeding. The leaders of today (2004) at the Center, headed by President John Candler, have done an incredible job in building for the present and assuring the future. May their successors, hopefully many years from now, find the real magic of the Center, its people, and its mission to make our people better trustees of our culture and ci viIization through music.