The Hemet Concert Association was founded in 1972. Over the decades, Hemet has heard concerts by some of the world’s finest musicians, enriching the cultural climate of the San Jacinto Valley and surrounding areas. We are proud to continue in this community.
At its inception, HCA was part of the nationwide network of Community Concert Associations. Founded in 1927 by concert impresarios based in New York, later owned, and operated by Columbia Artists Management, Community Concerts was a perfect balance between artists and audiences all over the US.
In 1999, Columbia sold Community Concerts to Trawick Management, leading almost immediately to problems, and as a result, the national network dissolved in disarray by 2003. Fortunately, HCA suffered no financial or program loss, although the board faced a steep learning curve, suddenly having to become an “independent concert presenter”, without the support of a national network.
As a result of this change, we enlarged our season to 5 concerts and started our website. Recently, we added the “Conductor's Circle” category to our Patrons program, for donors who contribute $500 or more. Those who contribute at this level may choose to sponsor a concert in part or entirety and be recognized for their generosity.
We are no longer a “subscription-only” series – in 1999, we implemented a single admission policy, while continuing to make it advantageous to subscribe.
HCA has been fortunate to receive generous support from individuals and their estates: in 1999, Margaret Branchflower sponsored a concert by Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, South American harpist; in 2003, a gift from Joseph Smayda brought us the San Diego Youth Symphony; and in 2004, a bequest from the estate of Marta Hollnagel sponsored the stellar Vega String Quartet. A most generous anonymous donation of $10,000 has been used as a special projects fund, and we still have some of those funds available.
In 2008, we received a California Arts Council grant of $10,000 enabling a concert by San Francisco-based Coro Hispano, performing music of Early California, which was of special meaning to this community which has presented the California State Historic Play, Ramona, since 1923.
Other memorable concerts have included the Thüringer Salon Quintet, who traveled from Munich in the fall of 2001, overcoming visa problems to perform for an audience in shock following the 9/11 attacks; the eclectic Quartetto Gelato, in one of their last concerts before the tragic early death of one of its founding members, oboist Cynthia Steljes; the Russian Firebird Ensemble, in a charming program of Russian folk music and dance; Elizabeth von Trapp, carrying on the tradition of her famous grandmother, Maria; the wildly popular Woods Tea Company; Latin American music group Calle Sur & Los Llaneros; Melody of China, entrancing us all with beautiful Chinese classical and folk music; the Poulenc Trio, proving that sophisticated wind music is fun; the beautiful Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge; and the Brazilian Guitar Quartet taking us from Bach to Villa-Lobos.
Support and Grants
HCA has two music outreach programs:
Musical Wings is our musical outreach program that brings live musicians to perform and answer questions at local schools. For many, this is their first and only opportunity to experience live music with professional musicians.
Music Education Fund
In 2007, the Music Education Fund was established. The fund has, as of June 2023, awarded $31,200 to local students pursuing higher musical education as well as several generous grants to a local program, called MUSICA!
MUSICA offers free string instrument training to all elementary students in both Hemet and San Jacinto school districts. Since 2013, we offer our artists in our Musical Wings outreach programs to local schools, an extraordinary opportunity for young people to meet and hear professional musicians.
Despite the ascendancy of electronics, we believe fervently that real, live music is an essential part of our culture. Artists and audiences continue to need each other, and Hemet Concert Association will continue to bring them together.