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Marion schools, A&P partnering on deal to bring events to new MPAC

Marion schools, A&P partnering on deal to bring events to new MPAC


Marion schools, A&P partnering on deal to bring events to new MPAC

City hopes to promote venue as entertainment hub

Marion School District is partnering up with Marion Advertising and Promotions Commission to bring residents some top-flight musical and cultural events at the Marion Performing Arts Center when not being used for school events.

A& P agreed to underwrite the effort by providing $25,000 to help hire the talent and promote the events. “They want to use it to host more non-school events and offer the community some kind of entertainment options of different varieties,” said Mayor Frank Fogleman.

The Marion Performing Arts Center opened in January and holds about 900 people.

This isn’t the first time A& P has helped the school out. The commission provided $7,500 to help underwrite a special sold out homecoming concert featuring Barrett Baber.

Baber was a contestant on the nationally televised singing competition show “The Voice” where he finished in third place.

And in April, the facility was used by the Sultana Heritage Festival to host a special screening of the documentary “Remember the Sultana” by Oklahomabased filmmaker Mike Marshal which drew about 75 people.

Deputy School Superintendent Jeff Altemus said they would like to host about four or five events a year.

“We are excited,” Altemus said. “We are extremely thankful and appreciative of the A& P Commission for what they did. We think it is a quality of life thing for the community to have events here that we haven’t previously had on this side of the river. So we are trying to figure out how to make this happen.”

Altemus said they are looking at booking some known name musical talent for a concert series.

“We do have a list,” Altemus said. “The people we are talking about now if you are in to country music you will know them. Or if you are in to Rock ‘n’ Roll, you will recognize the names. They may not be first line artists today. But they have had some hits.”

To get those acts though costs about $30,000.

Altemus said tickets would range from about $35 to $25.

“To bring in that level of entertainment we are talking around $30,000 per act,” Altemus said. “So we would have to have a near sell out in order to bring enough money in. Then, if the first one is successful, then you’ve got the funds for the second one.”

Altemus said they may also book traveling theatrical productions, ballet, or even opera.

“We’re not sure the level of interest in those,” Altemus said. “But we really do believe a concert series would come closest to at least breaking even. We would love to be able to make a little on these so we can use that for future productions which might not have as much interest, but is still good culturally for the area.”

By Mark Randall

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