Musician Mika Day performs for market attendees at this year’s final Wednesday Market, on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Musician Mika Day performs for market attendees at this year’s final Wednesday Market, on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna wins concert series grant

Soldotna’s Music in the Park will rock even more in 2019, thanks to a $25,000 matching grant.

The city of Soldotna was one of 15 annual winners of the 2019 Levitt AMP Grant. The matching grant is presented to nonprofits in small to mid-sized towns to host the Levitt AMP Music Series, 10 free and diverse concerts.

“We’re very excited,” said Executive Director for the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Shannon Davis. “We really have done a great job of showing the development of Soldotna Creek Park and having Music in the Park grow every year, so we are thrilled to take it to a whole new level in 2019.”

The grant was awarded to Vision Soldotna, a 501(c)3 that focuses its efforts to better Soldotna through a visitor’s and community center and by enhancing the city’s vibrancy and diversity.

“We submitted the grant application back in September,” Davis said. “And we were selected by the committee to move on to the second phase, online voting.”

During the voting, Soldotna was up against a long list of communities with much larger populations and had to place in the top 25 of voting.

“We worked it hard to get the word out, to encourage residents and even our friends from far away to vote for Soldotna,” Davis said. “… We came in 24 out of 25, we’re proud of getting there with how small our community is.”

During the third phase of voting, the Levitt Foundation, a private foundation to support arts, culture and education, selected the top 15 cities.

“In the third round, they looked to see that we met the goals of the grant such as amplifying community pride and enriching lives,” Davis said.

The grant is a dollar-for-dollar match from the foundation, with a minimum contribution from the Soldotna Chamber of $25,000. Davis said that this increased budget and guidelines set forth by the Levitt Foundation will open up the choice of acts that Soldotna Creek Park will see next summer.

“It’s going to take a while to develop our lineup,” Davis said. “We have to have one national act and we have to make sure our lineup is very diverse and covers a wide range of music styles and cultures — to bring in acts we haven’t been able to have before.”

Davis said concertgoers should expect some new tunes, but that fan favorites will find their way to the stage.

“It’s a little be hard since we have local bands that we absolutely love, but we’ll branch out a little more and hopefully the chamber will have other ways to showcase them,” Davis said.

Reach Kat Sorensen at ksorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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