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Musical heartbeat for new Valley Grange
The newly reorganized Valley Grange has taken on a personality of its own as a community center with a focus in the arts.
The original, 77-year-old Sallal Grange surrendered its charter in 2007. Eight months ago, locals Allen Roberts and Nels Melgaard began organizing a group of Valley residents with an interest in arts and music. Former Grange member Karen Granger helped spark interest in Sallal.
"We looked at the community service-based philosophy of the organization, and we got excited," Melgaard said.
Meeting with officials from the Washington State Grange last December, the budding local group's interest and energy excited the state organization. In turn, the state Grange worked to help get the Valley organization started.
Going into their third official meeting, Roberts has been named president. Melgaard is vice president. The executive board includes treasurer Douglas Abrahamson and program director Jeff Warren.
Their to-do list includes recovering previous members and creating programs relevant to the community. But Melgaard said 80 percent of what they are doing evolved out of music.
"We don't necessarily see it as a music hall, but that'll be one of the big things that'll happen here a lot," Roberts said. "We told the state we'd do some cool things. But the beat of the grange is the beat of music and they really supported us."
About 100 people attended Sallal Grange's first open mic night. Admission helps raise funds for the organization.
Envisioned programs include emergency response, a Relay for Life Team, monthly pancake feeds, a food bank, community dances, guest artist concerts, teen activities, a boat night at Rattlesnake Lake, Junior Grange and seasonal bazaars.
Roberts also said the group wants to promote the building as a local meeting hall, encompassing Scout activities, receptions and everything in between.
Interest continues to grow as the group coalesces.
"It's been amazing.Every time we've met we've had more people come and join," Roberts said.
To get involved, e-mail Allen Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nels Melgaard at email@example.com
To inquire about renting out the Sallal Grange for an event, contact Dan Clapp at (425) 888-0825.