So-Called Dollars


Purpose: To bring to Alaska each year "the priceless privilege of hearing and performing in great orchestral, choral and choral-orchestral music"; to give all music lovers "a profound insight into its spirit and structure" through concerts, recitals, lectures and public and private instruction.

Organization: Anchorage Festival of Music organized 1956, sponsored by Anchorage Community College (part of University of Alaska) and Community Chorus. Association succeeded by Alaska Festival of Music, Inc., non-profit corporation chartered 1960; administered by Board of Advisors. In 1986, merged with Basically Bach Festival, founded in 1978 by Elvera Voth, and original Anchorage Festival of Music name restored.

Site, Dates, Attendance: Concerts and recitals held in Community College and in Sydney Laurence Auditorium, Anchorage, in June each year; 1960 attendance over 7,000.

Comment: In 1956, Mrs. Mary Hale, then Director Anchorage Community Chorus, persuaded Robert Shaw (Associate Conductor, Cleveland Orchestra and Director, Robert Shaw Chorale) and Julius Hereford (noted instructor and pianist) to come to Anchorage to work with group of distinguished guest artists and local musicians in producing first Festival of Music. Result was "musical triumph for Alaska" with interest and scope increasing in succeeding years.

Visiting artists perform both as soloists and teachers of 140 singers in Community Chorus and of 40 odd members of Anchorage Symphony; supplemented by seminars, TV lectures, etc.

Medals: Official Medals sponsored by Festival to commemorate fifth anniversary; designed by Paul Hoblit; struck by Herff Jones, Inc., Indianapolis. Issue limited to 300 sterling Silver and 2,500 Bronze (plus 5,000 Bronze with loops); sold for $10 and $5 respectively; dies destroyed December 1960, per sponsor's specific advices.

Photos courtesy of John Dean

Obv. State Seal within center circle; outside, around The Seal of the State of Alaska; two small animals at l. edge; small fish at r. edge.
Rev. In center, behind and above mountains, are hands of orchestra conductor holding baton; above, around Alaska Festival of Music; below mountains 1960 (This is Festival Seal).

HK-575 Silver, on edge Herff Jones and Sterling. 38mm.
HK-576 Bronze, on edge H J Co.

HK-574 to HK-574a