Like many volunteers, Oro Valley resident Bob Weede prefers to keep quiet about the things he does for the community.
But quiet or not, there is no arguing that Weede’s contributions continue to make a lot of noise when it comes to his involvement in arts and culture.
The 84-year-old began volunteering years ago alongside Dick Eggerding, and the two formed the Greater Oro Valley Arts Council in 1997 to spread arts programs in the area.
“Dick and I came up with the name because we knew we were not going to be able to confine the programs to the boundary line of Oro Valley,” said Weede.
The organization continued to expand into one of the largest arts organizations in the region until 2009, when increased partnerships across Arizona prompted GOVAC to be renamed to the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA).
Today, SAACA collaborates with more than 80 arts organizations across Southern Arizona, and has grown nearly 100 percent in the last three years. Involved with visual artists, musicians, concerts, festivals, and more, SAACA delivers events to more than 100 communities each year, with more than 85 percent of its events free of charge.
But while Weede has played a huge role in SAACA’s success, he prefers to divert the attention from himself and highlight the programs offered in the non-profit organization.
Along with the numerous artistic options provided by SAACA, Weede has always had a big focus on music, particularly for young people. He has been a driving force between such programs as Just For Kids (also known as Musical Magic For Kids), a collaborative effort between SAACA and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra to bring Oro Valley families musical performances.
Another program offered by SAACA is Musical Gold in the Morning, an educational enrichment program that introduces students from kindergarten to fifth grade to the works of classical composers by playing a five-minute clip of a particular composer’s work and later quizzing on the material played.
Weede strongly believes music should be implemented into children’s education at a young age.
“In reading a lot of studies about how music can do great things for young people, it’s thought that if you’re not involved in music until you’re eight or nine years old, that place in your brain gets filled with other stuff,” said Weede.
Though fundraising for such programs sometimes comes through SAACA’s frequent social events (such as the recently passed Salsa/Tequila Challenge at La Encantada Mall), Weede says often the organization is at the mercy of private donors, some of which have been extremely generous in their offerings.
“That’s a part of volunteering not a lot of people think about – getting funds to support an idea is a big task,” said Weede.
Another program SAACA has become involved with is bringing musical artists into the local Veterans Affairs hospitals, where they sing for capable and bed-ridden veterans alike.
The veterans are not the only beneficiaries of the program, though, as Weede says volunteering is extremely fulfilling.
“There are just so many moments and gifts that come with volunteering. It pays back in so many ways,” said Weede.
Weede was one of the people nominated for the Town of Oro Valley’s 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award.
“Bob Weede has been a cornerstone for arts and culture in Oro Valley,” said Oro Valley Communications Administrator Misti Nowak. “
For more information on programs and events offered by SAACA, visit www.saaca.org.