Any discussions about whether an Augusta-based orchestra should officially represent Columbia County must wait another month.
County commissioners decided during a Tuesday meeting to table a motion naming the Symphony Orchestra Augusta the resident symphony of an Evans performance venue after phone calls and complaints from members of the Columbia County Civic Orchestra.
At the request of Symphony Orchestra Augusta, commissioners had recently agreed during a committee meeting to designate the arts group as the resident symphony for the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center.
Columbia County Civic Orchestra conductor Rob Nordan protested that decision this past week during a full commission meeting.
"For many reasons, we have grave concerns about this action and we respectfully ask that the action be denied," Nordan told commissioners.
Some conflicting statements in county documents likely led to a misunderstanding in what the Symphony Orchestra Augusta was asking of county officials.
A portion of the documents requested that the orchestra be recognized as the professional musical group in residence for the performing arts center.
Other portions of the documents suggest that the designation would be for the entire county.
County Community and Leisure Services Director Barry Smith said he intends to make it clear that the designation would apply only to the performing arts center when the issue is discussed again on Dec. 8 at a Community and Emergency Services Committee meeting.
Symphony Orchestra Augusta Executive Director Sandra Self said the designation as the performing arts center's resident symphony would be included in concert programs and posted outside the performing arts center in the Columbia County Library.
From a marketing standpoint, such advertising likely will improve the performing arts center's profile with other area arts groups, Smith said.
Each year, the Symphony Orchestra Augusta stages multiple concerts at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center and a free outdoor concert in Evans.
Since its inception about two years ago, the Civic Orchestra has performed eight concerts, most of them in Columbia County. It has not performed at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, Smith said.
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