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The Great Waters Music Festival Story

dr gerald r mack colorGreat Waters Music Festival was founded in 1995 by Dr. Gerald Mack, Director of the Worcester Chorus and a former professor at the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford. The non-profit summer festival was organized to encompass a diversified program designed to appeal to a variety of musical tastes, both classical and popular, and to bring together outstanding amateur and professional musicians. Its purpose is to promote live musical performances including choral, symphonic, folk, pops, jazz, Broadway, dance, and renowned vocal and instrumental artists.

chorus 09   soloists   small

For four years, the Festival's leadership derived primarily from its highly active Board of Directors and from the musical expertise of Dr. Gerald Mack. In addition, scores of community volunteers offered their support in acting as ushers and concert staff during the concert season. Realizing the increasing need for a permanent staff, the Board of Directors hired an Executive Director in the spring of 1999 and established a part time position for an Administrative Assistant.

Since its founding in 1995, GWMF has grown from 325 attendees at one classical performance to the present audience of over 5,000, all enjoying a diverse program that includes: folk, classical, A Capella, jazz, Broadway, pop, bluegrass and more. GWMF has consistently attracted regional and national artists to New Hampshire. Celebrity stars Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Ronan Tynan, Richie Havens, Canadian Brass, Sandy Duncan, Arlo Guthrie, Peter Nero, Natalie MacMaster, Chuck Mangione, Betty Buckley, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Lucie Arnaz, Suzanne Ishee, Mark Hardy, Judy Collins, Lee Bryant, Nanci Griffith and Judy Gibson have all delighted sold-out audiences. The most recent 2018 season hosted Grammy Award winning Chanticleer,  Farewell Angelina, and the Capitol Steps to name a few.

The year 2000 marked the introduction of the Great Waters Music Festival's acoustical performance pavilion, a beautiful 800 person capacity tent on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. It stood proudly for 10 seasons welcoming performing artists and guests from July through August.  Artists and audience all agreed that there was no other “magical” experience like it anywhere in the Lakes Region of NH.  But as time took its toll on the tent, and it was clear it needed to be replaced, the organization moved in a new direction and opted for other more affordable venue options like the Kingswood Performing Arts Center and other local venues including The Barn at the Inn and Anderson Hall.

GWMF Acoustic PavilionOriginal Outdoor 800-seat PavilionKingswood Performing Arts Center

Last year, in 2018, Great Waters Music Festival embarked on a journey to build a vision for the future with a strategic plan. In the process of building the plan, it became clear that finding a “home” was a priority. Donors, artists and audience all expressed nostalgic feelings for the past, and great enthusiasm for building a “new” magical experience for today and beyond. The Great Waters Board of Directors heard you clearly, and the work has begun on finding, and funding, the solution.