Back in familiar and loving hands
As Marilyn Nash enters her beloved Canby Pioneer Chapel, it seems that the owner and building radiate together.
"There is never a day I set foot in this sanctuary that it does not give me that feeling of incredible energy," she said as she gently touched the ornate pews that concert-goers are now able to experience at this unique venue in Canby.
The building shifted to a predominantly performing arts center and weddings under the direction of Michael Allen Harrison in 2017.
However, based on an increasing concert travel schedule and recording demands, Harrison made the decision to hand back control of the Chapel to its owners, Marilyn and her husband Marty Nash, effective January 2019.
Harrison will remain the resident artist of CPC and a very good advocate of the music hall.
"I'm glad to be back and feel the time away has given me plenty of time to think of how we can build upon Michael's success of the past few years," said Marilyn.
She said this chapter in her life will be the most challenging and rewarding one she has ever experienced. And it seems she and her husband are gearing up for a very aggressive and successful plan in 2019.
They have already booked Harrison every Wednesday evening for his "Chill Series," Tony Starlight for three shows beginning in March, John Nilsen appearances throughout the year, Julianne Johnson Weiss' "The Journey" series, Christmas concerts and many more artists to be announced in the very near future.
"We are also excited about a local band called 'Those Willows' appearing on April 13 who are gaining national notoriety in the music video world as one of the most uniquely talented harmony bands to come on the music scene in years," said Marilyn.
Marilyn and Marty are not only busy booking great concerts, but once they took back control of the Chapel the property started getting a makeover that will enhance that concert and event experience. The enhancements will include a scrolling LED sign announcing events, improved exterior lighting along with a wonderful new expansive tent with sparkling chandeliers and seating for over 150 people.
The couple feel these improvements will revitalize the interest to the venue. And as the Chapel goes through all of the renovations behind the scenes there is an improved effort to promote the Pioneer Chapel.
Marilyn emphasized that "we want to be known as a unique event center that will not only be home to great entertainment, but also weddings, corporate events, nonprofit community activities and special occasion teas."
As excited as the couple are for their plans for 2019, they know there is a lot of work ahead to complete the infrastructure and continue to promote the Chapel to the communities of Canby and Wilsonville. The challenge in the past three years has been local awareness.
"We draw people on a regular basis from Salem, Portland and Vancouver, however less than 10 percent on a regular basis come from the Canby and Wilsonville area," Marty points out.
Both agree that long-term success must include the local market.
Canby Pioneer Chapel is at the corner of NW Third Avenue and Elm Street in Canby.