Brookings-Harbor Friends of Music board members gathered Monday for a reception at Brian Scott Gallery to push for a concert hall in Brookings-Harbor.

The music association, which began in 1985 to bring high-quality performances to the area, has had a desire to build a concert hall for several years. Currently the group uses the Brookings Seventh-day Adventist Church as a venue.

“A lot of people are really into a performing arts center in Brookings,” Mark Newhouse, Friends of Music president, said at the reception. “It would be facility everyone can use.”

However, one of the biggest hurdles is obtaining funding.

After Jim Newman, representing Stagelights Musical Arts Community suggested seeking grants, Newhouse said many grant applications want to know about community support.

This was one of the reasons Friends of Music scheduled the reception — to push for community support.

Among the 20 people in attendance, which included representatives from music groups, Southwestern Oregon Community College Executive Dean Douglas Bunn and Brookings City Manager Janell Howard, there was discussion of ways to convince grantors there is community support, including a letter writing campaign and forming a coalition.

There was also discussion of working with the college to build a campus auditorium.

On display was a conceptual floor plan for a 200-seat hall with a stage big enough for a small orchestra.

Pat Foht, who represented the Wild Rivers Symphony, said the orchestra group is behind the concept 100-percent.

One of the main reasons behind the orchestra’s desire for such a facility is instrument storage. Currently musicians must take responsibility for their instruments.

There is no place to keep instruments where the orchestra rehearses. The musicians bring the instruments, some large, to the rehearsal then take them home afterward. A few of the instruments belong to the orchestra, Foht said.

Since Friends of Music began to pursue building a hall, the board has looked at building from scratch, and for awhile had a vacant lot to build, or remodeling an existing building, which included former medical offices on Fifth Street.

Hurdles arose, particularly parking, at those sites. However, the board continues to push for a concert hall and it was decided forming a coalition would be best to show community interest.

“It’s going to take the community to do this,” Newhouse said.

21134848