Today marks the 70th anniversary of FCA’s first performance. Started in 1947 in answer to a community need, residents recognized the importance of arts in building a community. Twelve years later, AK became a state. I joke that it’s not a coincidence but it’s not really a joke. The arts do build community. They also stimulate the economy. Show me a thriving municipality and you can bet there’s a thriving arts scene behind it.
A presenting organization reflects the community. We’ve seen a lot of changes as we’ve grown up with you Fairbanks – most notably the great diversity of artists and artforms we bring to Interior Alaska. Just a few weeks ago we opened our season with a fabulous classic rock show by Melissa Etheridge followed up by the utter gorgeousness of the vocal ensemble Cantus. We present jazz, world, classical and folk music, dance, and theater, comedy and family shows. Truly an infinite variety representing some 50 cultures and genres.
Rhonda and I are so lucky… we truly share a passion for our work. Sure, there’s a lot of it, but it’s never more fun than when we are working at it the hardest. And it’s provided so many wonderful memories for us both… Favorite artists, great moments, wonderful feedback on our efforts… and our favorite response: “I didn’t know what I was getting. I came because it was FCA, and it was great!” That’s trust. That’s friendship. And it means so much to us.
I have some wonderful memories from being in this job for almost 10 years… and they’re all about the people… Martin Short taking time with a down’s syndrome kid. Lily oh Lily my favorite Tomlin forever… at 72 she landed in Fairbanks, traveling from Miami, having been on the road for three weeks… instead of getting in the car she hung out at baggage claim, remarking on the Rubbermaid tubs we commonly use as luggage. We were sisters by the time her bags arrived…
Yes, our big names create memorable experiences, but it’s the less well-known artists we love the most. They’re here for longer, include outreach and we have time to get to know them. You build relationships fast in this business. One such friendship was with cellist David Gotay, of Sweet Plantain. Together we planned the biggest tour of Alaska ever – 13 communities and became lasting friends in the process… there’s a very real and lingering sadness which came when he died, but oh! how fortunate to have known him at all…
Most of all, it’s you Fairbanks. Your comments, at the supermarket, the post office, on Facebook and in your surveys. You really blow me away!
As Scott Bradlee wrote “My goal with Postmodern Jukebox is to get my audience to think of songs not as rigid, ephemeral objects, but like malleable globs of Silly Putty. Songs can be twisted, shaped, and altered without losing their identities — just as we grow, age, and expire without losing ours.” PMJ or FCA?
Here’s to the next 70 years Fairbanks!
Thank you for coming, thank you for trusting us, and as always… enjoy the show