Galena Festival of the Performing Arts Says Goodbye

The Board of Directors of the Galena Festival of the Performing Arts (GFPA) has made the decision that, as of February 2022, the Festival has reached the end of its run. No future concerts sponsored by GFPA will be presented. We look back on the twenty years of lively performances and talented performers that GFPA brought to the Tri-State area with great pleasure and happy memories. We all enjoyed such a variety of artists over the years, including:

Isthmus Brass
Ladies Must Swing
NOLA jazz band
First Brigade Civil War Band
Corky Siegel, Howard Levy, and Randy Sabien
Guest musicians from the Dubuque Symphony
Broadway nights, to name a few.

We are grateful to all of the donors, audiences, and dedicated volunteers who shared these delightful times with us.

Bringing the Festival to Galena has been hard work but a labor of love for many individuals over the past two decades.

Founded as a non-profit organization in 2001 by Jeffrey Arnold as Artistic Director and Steve Coates as President of the Board, the original focus of the group was to provide exclusively classical music to the community. An accomplished pianist and organist, Jeffrey Arnold performed at each Festival for several years, along with other classical musicians. When Jeffrey Arnold moved to Texas in 2006, John Hassig took over as Artistic Director and began to bring in new types of music, including folk, Celtic, blue grass, jazz, Broadway hits, big band, and more. Steve Coates stepped down as President of the Board in 2007 and was followed in that role first by Mike Knight, then Pam Ohms. Dave Mikelson assumed leadership of the Festival in 2011 and served as President of the Board through the final Festival performance in 2019. Dave described the goal of the Festival as “bringing professional music to the Tri-State area so that all can enjoy it, regardless of their financial situation.”

Funding for GFPA was entirely from donations throughout the years of its run, and our community and audiences gave generously.

Our community also provided lovely venues for various Festival performances. Thanks go to Grace Episcopal Church, the Galena Public Library, and the helpful city employees who made the use of Turner Hall and Grant Park such a pleasant experience.

And there is exciting news for all of us! The Festival Board believes strongly that the future of performing arts in our area will be with the Galena Center for the Arts, who are currently preparing to complete their new facility at 971 Gear Street. We have all enjoyed the many performances the Galena Center for the Arts has offered in recent years, and with their new theater and the excitement of their staff and volunteers, we have much to look forward to. To that end, the Festival board will be donating our remaining funds to the Galena Center for the Arts to support them in bringing in future musical performances featuring regional, rather than local, artists. So look for announcements from the Center for the Arts for the many delights to come! We’ll see you there!

The GFPA Board of Directors:

Jennifer Ackerman, Jess Farlow, Nancy Willett, Susanna Ludwig, Katherine Walker, Mary Nelson, Mark VanOsdol and Betsy Hanson