Concert series returns downtown

Cedar Rapids Community Concerts series returns to the Paramount next year

Diana Nollen
Published: June 10 2013 | 4:10 pm - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 4:25 pm in
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After wandering to various venues after the Flood of 2008, the Cedar Rapids Community Concerts series is returning to the Paramount Theatre.

“It’s an important move back home for us,” says Tony Staab, concert association president.

“We have been at the Paramount for years and years,” he said, but had to find other venues following the Flood of 2008.

The concerts first moved to the U.S. Cellular Center, then to the Concert Hall at College Community, but not all of the program’s loyal subscribers followed the series to its temporary homes.

“We were up to full capacity at the Paramount just before the flood,” said Staab, 78, of Cedar Rapids, who has been involved with the series for 25 years. “We dropped probably 25 percent, to about 1,300 to 1,500 members, depending on where we were.”

He attributes that to two factors.

“The U.S. Cellular Center isn’t a concert hall as comfortable as the Paramount, which was our first move. When we went to Prairie High School, which is a gorgeous auditorium, people thought that it was quite a ways out in the country — and it isn’t,” he said.

He’s thrilled with the Paramount’s renovations, which have improved the concert experience from technical as well as aesthetic viewpoints.

“What could be better,” he said. “It’s a wonderful facility, and having met with VenuWorks people many times — trying to reorganized the season for next year — they’re better equipped than they have been in the past, with sound and lights and things like that. It’s a great concert hall.”

The details

  • Broadway performer Jeri Sager in concert
  • 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (6/11)
  • The Concert Hall at College Community, 401 76th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids
  • Tickets: $25 at the door
  • Information: crcommunityconcerts.org

Community Concert board members start planning each season a year in advance, meeting with agents from Minnesota and Nashville in the fall to fashion a series that will appeal to the traditional audience members, ages 50 to 80. They’re trying to appeal to the 50-and-younger ones as well, to reel in families and cultivate future ticket holders.

The 2012-13 season ends Tuesday with Broadway musical star Jeri Sager. Among her leading roles are Grizabella in “Cats,” Fantine in “Les Miserables” and the title role in “Evita.” She has worked with award-winning directors Jerome Robbins and Trevor Nunn, and singer/songwriter/playwright Rupert Holmes.

“What a background she has — it’s unbelievable,” Staab said. “Quite often, that’s the type of talent that we get. It’s really something pretty special.”

2013-14 Season:

--- The Italian Saxophone Quartet: 2:30 p.m. Oct. 13. Music from Bach to Cole Porter, Scarlatti to Scott Joplin, Piazzolla tangos to Fellini film scores.

--- The Sons of the Pioneers: 2:30 p.m. Nov. 3. Classic cowboy favorites like "Tumbling Tumbleweed," "Cool Water" and "Ghost Riders in the Sky."

--- "Thank You for the Music" ABBA tribute: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28. Hits such as "Dancing Queen," "Waterloo," "Take a Chance on Me," "Fernando" and "Mamma Mia."

--- "Back on Broadway": 2:30 p.m. March 2. Ten star-struck performers head to the Big Apple looking for their big break on Broadway, featuring production numbers from new hit shows and all-time classics.

--- The Rodney Mack Philadelphia Big Brass: 2:30 p.m. May. Brass band.

--- Concert venue: Paramount Theatre, 123 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids

--- Series tickets: $35 general, $50 reserved, $70 family general section; before July 20 at (319) 540-2301 or crcommunityconcerts.org

Bonus: Series tickets allow free admission to five additional concerts presented by the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Metro Community Concert Association

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