After 4 Decades, Bluemont Concert Series Terminates Operations   

The Bluemont Concert Series board of directors announced Tuesday that it would terminate the organization’s programs and administrative operations effective June 30.

The decision follows a series of planning sessions over the past 18 months resulting in the conclusion that the nonprofit, as currently organized, lacked the financial footing to continue.

Founded in 1976, Bluemont created public/private partnerships in 34 Virginia communities, presenting more than 9,648 cultural programs in schools, nursing homes, special events and summer concerts to 3.2 million people. That was made possible by the support of local governments and private donor partners.

“We are immensely proud of our history over the past 41 years and treasure the many wonderful memories created by quality entertainment and cultural enrichment that we were so fortunate to present,” the board said in a statement announcing the decision.

The organization has been cutting back its programs for much of the past decade as funding from state and local governments steadily declined from $263,000 in fiscal year 2008 to $59,434 this year.

“While we continue to believe that music and art are critical to a well-rounded education, and vital to our beloved communities, our programs require resources to operate,” the board stated. “Despite a storied 40 plus year history, and ongoing conscientious budgeting, our resources have been exhausted.”

Earlier this year, the board laid off Executive Director Lily Dunning Widman and her staff. “The Board greatly appreciates Ms. Widman’s outstanding professional service and we wish her much success in her future endeavors. She and her staff gave countless hours to make Bluemont truly special and their commitment to excellence is to be commended,” the board stated.

Bluemont’s early activities focused on a series of concerts and old-time country dances but grew to include regional cultural programming. It played a large role in bringing cultural events to schools at a time when little money was dedicated to them.

Bluemont’s board is working to wrap up the organization’s operations. It is seeking supporter’s help in raising money needed to meet its outstanding obligations. An online fundraising campaign has been established at gofundme.com/bluemont with the goal of raising $7,500. Contributions also may be mailed to PO Box 802, Berryville, VA 22611.

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