Location: 868 High St, Eugene OR
Active Years: 1991-Present
The Shedd Institute was founded in 1991 under the name Oregon Festival of American Music as a thematically based summer orchestral pops festival dedicated to the championship of American classical music. In 1993 the Festival was designated as a Resident Company of the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, joining 6 other local non-profits, including The Eugene Symphony, Eugene Opera, Eugene Ballet and Oregon Bach Festival. It established a community music institute in 1995.
In 1997 the company shifted radically from its summer-only festival model and began year-round programming with the foundation of two additional performance initiatives, The American Symphonia and The Emerald City Jazz Kings. The American Symphonia, which was under the artistic direction of conductor James Paul from 1997-2006, was a classical music initiative dedicated specifically to the championship of post-1900 European art music written in the Western Hemisphere. The Emerald City Jazz Kings, founded and directed by trombonist and music scholar Stephen Stone, is a 16 to 22 member ensemble dedicated to the presentation of American popular music from the 1920s through ’50s, with an emphasis on big band jazz, swing, musical theater, and the American standard. In 1998 the company’s eclectic August festival named jazz pianist and composer Dick Hyman as its jazz advisor, who joined James Paul at its artistic helm.
By 1999 the Festival had added 2 more performance initiatives to its programming (its Now Hear This Presenting Series and the Twin Rivers Folklife Festival) and, with the continued expansion of its community music school, had begun a search for a building of its own. In July 2002 it moved into the former First Baptist Church in downtown Eugene (a 65,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) complex of performance, meeting and classroom spaces), which it named “The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts” in honor of early 20th century Chicago businessman and philanthropist John G. Shedd, the great-grandfather of Festival co-founder and long-time patron and Director of Education, Ginevra Reed Ralph.
In 2004 the Festival official changed its name to the name of its building. It is commonly referred to as “The Shedd Institute” while the building is known simply as “The Shedd”. It added 2 additional concert initiatives to its cultural service mix (The Magical Moombah, a musical vaudeville for kids directed by Judith “Sparky” Roberts, and its Shedd Presents series) and began rental of the facility to other regional, cultural and educational programs. (Source: Wikipedia)
Originally the First Baptist Church. The oldest church in town, founded in 1852.