Local arts organizations vie for $5,000 prize

VYING FOR VOTES: Voca Lyrica, the women's choir group in Big Rapids shown during their concert on Sunday, is one of four local arts nonprofits competing for votes in the Investing With You Contest. The top four vote-getters in the state will win $5,000. The other three contestants from Mecosta County are Tuba Bach, Artworks and STAGE-M. (Pioneer file photo)

VYING FOR VOTES: Voca Lyrica, the women’s choir group in Big Rapids shown during their concert on Sunday, is one of four local arts nonprofits competing for votes in the Investing With You Contest. The top four vote-getters in the state will win $5,000. The other three contestants from Mecosta County are Tuba Bach, Artworks and STAGE-M. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS — A click of a mouse could bring $5,000 to one or more of four local arts nonprofit organizations.

Nonprofit arts groups registered with the Investing With You Contest by Independent Bank are trying to collect online votes until 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14. The top four vote-getters in the state will each win $5,000.

Participating nonprofits in Mecosta County are STAGE-M, Voca Lyrica, Artworks and Tuba Bach. Area residents who are at least 18 years old are eligible to vote online in the contest. Voting is free.

To vote, visit independentbank.com and click on “Investing With You.” Voters can either scroll through all the entries or type a nonprofit’s name in the search bar. Once a voter clicks “vote” the website asks for the person’s name and email address.

“It’s up to the nonprofits to promote their entry,” said Mary Wilmer, manager of the Independent Bank branch in Big Rapids. “They need to get as many people as possible to go online and the people can vote once a day for multiple entries.”

The money would make an impact for any of the four local groups in the running which would be felt by the community.

“Should Tuba Bach win the $5,000 grant from Independent Bank, the funds would be earmarked for increased educational outreach programs in our community during the festival with our visiting artists,” said Ed Mallett, founder and artistic director of Tuba Bach. “And it would help celebrate reading for the remainder of the school year in schools and libraries throughout Michigan with our Tuba Tales music and literacy program.”

Voca Lyrica also would be able to broaden the activities the choir group currently offers, said President Marilyn Stolberg. The money would be useful to help support the youth choir, provide a music scholarship for high school aged students, bring in guest artists and bring new music to the community through commissioned works.

“The better our financial situation is, the broader reach we would have for the kinds of guest artists we bring in for concerts. The guest artists are professionals, so they get paid. We often pay for transportation as well, which can get pretty pricey,” Stolberg said.

Artworks also would be looking at what the money could help them do for the community, said Executive Director Lynne Scheible. Those dollars would likely go toward community engagement efforts.

“We do a program with Hope Network and that would enable us do to more with that kind of program,” Scheible said. “We also do fourth-grade field trips. One challenge in our community is transportation — sometimes getting students here is challenging. Having that kind of money to put into our programming would enhance our ability to do that kind of thing.”

STAGE-M also would use the money to enhance what it brings to the community in the form of theatrical entertainment.

“Every dollar STAGE-M takes in we put on stage,” said Chair Jim Rumpf. “The more we have to work with, the more we have to give back. The cost to produce the shows is increasing all the time. Trying to keep costs down to our patrons and sponsors becomes more difficult every year. This would be a significant portion of our annual budget. If we were to get it, it goes on stage for everyone to see.”

avatar

Posted by Candy Allan

Candy is the Pioneer's associate editor. She also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Parenting pages. She can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at callan@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply