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Posted on Sat, Mar 31, 2012 : 5:54 a.m.

A tale of two Dexter community groups impacted by the March 15 tornado

By Lisa Allmendinger

When an EF-3 tornado touched down in Dexter and Dexter Township on March 15, it caused a cancellation of the annual Dexter Area Historical Society's Pioneer Arts Fair two days later, and it meant finding a new venue for the Dexter Community Orchestra concert scheduled for that Sunday.

For the historical society, the art fair was supposed to take place at Creekside Elementary on March 17. The cancellation of a major fundraiser for the group’s museum left the group issuing an apology to people who arrived at the site unaware that it had been cancelled.

“Our sincere apologies to our artists, volunteers, members, and the community for the late cancellation of the Pioneer Arts Fair,” a statement from the board of directors’ states.

Because of the cancellation, there was talk that perhaps the art fair might not be held in the future. Since then, however, the board of directors held a meeting and decided that they would move forward with plans to bring back the fundraiser next year, said newly elected President Bene Fusilier.

She hopes that visitors understand the unusual circumstance that caused the cancellation and that people will continue to support the event.

The Dexter Community Orchestra had better luck with their scheduled event, although it meant some scrambling for a change of venue for both a practice facility for the musicians prior to the concert and for the concert itself.

The 84 musicians were able to practice that Friday night at Pioneer High School and were able to secure the Saline Middle School for their concert.

The orchestra’s board of directors decided to donate half their profits to the Dexter Relief Fund, and some members were able to hand Matt LaFontaine, general manager of LaFontaine Chevrolet, which helped organize the fund, a check for $1,000.

“The people in the Saline School District were fabulous,” said Melinda Morang, board president, who added that the district did not charge the orchestra for use of the building.

She said that the Dexter Chamber Orchestra "plays mostly classical orchestral music,” and holds four main concerts each year. Their next performance is scheduled for April 1 at the Dexter District Library at 2 p.m.

For more Dexter stories, visit our Dexter page.



Sat, Mar 31, 2012 : 6:16 p.m.

Thanks to everyone who made all the Dexter Community orchestra's dress rehearsal and concert work. The leadership of the orchestra (conductor and board) were certainly responsible for initiating the changes and setting their customary positive tone, but the entire orchestra rose to the occasion and the concert was a great success! As a member of the orchestra, I watched with amazement and gratitude while all the e-mail communications flew around. Plans were developed, finalized, and energetically carried out.