Submitted by Warren Civic Music Association
Warren Civic Music Association is the oldest community arts organization in Trumbull County and one of the first in Ohio. It is located in Northeastern Ohio, midway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, in an area rich in history, the arts, sports, and diverse ethnic and cultural activities. It was incorporated in 1937 as the Warren Concert Organization. After three years of economic “hard times,” it reorganized in 1940 as the Warren Civic Music Association.
Warren Civic Music, a nonprofit 501(3)c organization, is guided by an all-volunteer board with none of the officers or board members receiving any compensation. It is dedicated to the arts and enriching the lives of the members of the community by presenting a variety of high-quality musical programs at affordable prices. The outstanding entertainment and value have accounted for many sell-out concerts throughout the years.
In the beginning, the concerts were held in the Konold Auditorium of Warren G. Harding High School. The venue changed to the W.D. Packard Music Hall when the 2,100 seat facility first opened in 1955 and has been the “home” of Warren Civic Music ever since. The music hall is situated on 42 acres of Packard Park and was made possible by the vision and generosity of William Doud Packard, a prominent local industrialist, who together with his brother, James Ward Packard, co-founded the Packard Motor Car Company and Packard Electric Company. W.D. Packard made provisions in his will and established a trust to ensure that there would be a place in the city for music to endure and flourish for future generations. Today the music hall is Warren’s largest public venue and showcases a wide variety of entertainment programs and community events.
In earlier times, Warren Civic Music held receptions in private homes to honor the performers after the concerts, where tuxedos and formal dress were the norm. When the concerts were moved to the Packard Music Hall, these gatherings were held in the hospitality rooms of the venue. Receptions no longer take place; instead artists host meet-and-greets in the lobby following performances where CDs and merchandise may be purchased and autographed.
Warren Civic Music has presented many famed artists in a variety of programs. Opening the first season in 1943 was Ezio Pinza, Metropolitan Opera bass-baritone, who later was awarded the 1950 Tony for Best Actor in a Broadway Musical for “South Pacific.”
In the early years, programming was in the classical realm of entertainment comprised of vocalists from the Metropolitan Opera, symphony orchestras, instrumentalists, ballets, and Broadway. Some notables included Isaac Stern, Jerome Hines, Roberta Peters, Roger Williams, Peter Nero, Robert Merrill, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Guy Lombardo, Woody Herman, Ferrante & Teicher, Fred Waring, Mitch Miller, Gene Krupa, Warren’s own Irene Oliver, and more.
Artist selection has evolved to suit a changing audience, and recent performers have included The Texas Tenors, The Lennon Sisters, Debby Boone, Oak Ridge Boys, Linda Eder, The Gatlin Brothers, The Lettermen, The Diamonds, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., Home Free, Gary Puckett, The DooWop Project, Andy Cooney, The New York ‘Tenors, and numerous other talented entertainers.
The successful continuation of Warren Civic Music for 80 years is a collective effort, thanks to loyal season ticket subscribers, dedicated board members, and the generous support of benefactors and patrons.
A complete performance history is available on the WarrenCivicMusic.com website.