July Fourth request hits sour note with Minden board | RecordCourier.com

July Fourth request hits sour note with Minden board

by Sheila Gardner

An effort to alternate July Fourth performances by the Carson Valley Pops Orchestra between Minden and Gardnerville fell flat Wednesday when Minden board members failed to approve a request from their neighbors.

The orchestra, which uses the CVIC Hall in Minden for free to rehearse and store equipment, performed July Fourth in Minden Park before hundreds of celebrants.

Prior years, the all-volunteer orchestra played at Heritage Park in Gardnerville, but committed to four free concerts in Minden in exchange for use of the CVIC Hall.

Gardnerville Town Board members attended Wednesday’s meeting to request that the orchestra’s talents be shared.

Town board member Steve Thaler said he felt it was up to the orchestra to decide where it played.

“I’m really concerned we’re setting the stage for dictating where the Pops plays,” he said.

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Board members Roxanne Stangle and Matt Bernard said they didn’t mind alternating with Gardnerville with the understanding Minden would still have a July Fourth celebration.

Charlie Condron, who endorsed alternating with Gardnerville, became ill during the meeting and left before the vote.

“I like sharing with the Town of Gardnerville,” Condron said. “Even though their names are Minden and Gardnerville, basically we’re the same community.”

Gardnerville Town vice chairman Ken Miller told the board that Gardnerville wasn’t trying to compete with Minden, and he hoped the board shared that sentiment.

“A good example is the Friday night in the parks series (in Minden),” Miller said. “Gardnerville is requesting Minden not do anything on July 4.”

Thaler said Minden residents wanted an annual Independence Day celebration in their park.

“If we have the Fourth of July going back and forth, we’re going to confuse the public,” Thaler said. “I would love it if every small town in America hopped on board and celebrated.”

Lloyd Higuera, Gardnerville board member, said there was potential for a joint celebration.

“I see a real partnership. We present the Carson Valley Pops Orchestra and Minden comes to Heritage Park and stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Gardnerville. The next year, we go to Minden,” Higuera said. “I would love to see the two towns come together.”

Orchestra board member Judy Sheldrew said the Carson Valley Pops had support throughout the Valley, including Gardnerville, and would be willing to perform in either location.

“We work for free. We have a wonderful band of musicians who love to play for Carson Valley,” she said.

Sheldrew declined Thaler’s suggestion the orchestra choose where to perform.

“That is not something we feel comfortable being in the middle of,” she said.

Former Minden board member Ray Wilson said the issue came to a head several years ago when he and his board members learned some of the orchestra members were being paid.

Conductor Elizabeth Eubanks assured the Minden board that the orchestra worked for free.

“I cannot speak before 2008, but no one gets paid – not myself or any members,” Eubanks said.

Alternating with Gardnerville for the July Fourth would match the orchestra’s goals “to provide quality music throughout Carson Valley,” Eubanks said.

She and Sheldrew assured the board that the orchestra would keep its commitment to perform four free concerts in Minden whether that included July Fourth or not.

“We’re trying to thank both Gardnerville and Minden for supporting us,” Sheldrew said.

Thaler’s motion to deny the request died for lack of a second.

Bernard moved to approve the request with the understanding that Minden would still have its own July Fourth event which tied 2-2 in Condron’s absence, in effect tabling the issue.

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