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Newspaper honored for supporting local arts

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The Republic has won the Gold Baton award for its support of the arts.

Each year, the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic presents the award to a person, a family or community business that has demonstrated outstanding service to the community through extraordinary promotion and support of the arts, Philharmonic board vice president Peter King said.

“The Phil is one of those crown jewels in this community that we feel very strongly about,” said Jeff Brown, president of Home News Enterprises, parent company of The Republic. “We want to continue supporting that.”

It is the third time the Golden Baton has recognized individuals with ties to the newspaper. Earlier winners included the family of Robert and Betty Brown, Jeff Brown’s late parents; and Harry McCawley, honored last December just before his retirement as associate editor of The Republic after 50 years with the company.

Margaret Powers, the Philharmonic’s executive director, said the local media company’s support of the orchestra includes:

Financial contributions

Graphic design assistance

Support of the Salute! free community concert just prior to Memorial Day each year

Publishing reviews of the Philharmonic’s performances

Reviews by trained music critics provide credibility, Powers said.

“This gives the community an objective look at the quality in programming,” she said.

The Gold Baton was presented at the organization’s annual meeting Monday at YES Cinema,that included a performance by singer Sylvia McNair as well as a review of the organization’s financial report.

Philharmonic music director David Bowden announced that McNair would be a guest artist for December 2015.

“Sylvia is a great friend of Columbus, and she is a great friend of the Philharmonic,” Bowden said.

Founded in 1970 as Columbus Pro Musica, the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic — as it has been known since 1995 — recruits top musicians in Columbus and the region for its annual concert season along with other special events and

programming including youth music education.

McNair, in her speech to the audience of 100 people, commended the Philharmonic’s music education programs, which reach 12,500 annually — or 25 percent of Columbus’ population.

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