Editor’s note: In celebration of the Associates of Idyllwild Arts Foundation’s 50th anniversary, Bob Krone, son of Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts (now Idyllwild Arts) founders Max and Bee Krone, wrote this article.
Max and Bee Krone retired from ISOMATA leadership in the summer of 1967, 22 years after they created the Idyllwild Arts Foundation and 17 years after the first Summer Program in 1950. Ray and Virginia Garner, professional filmmakers, had moved to Idyllwild in the late 1950s. They had been part of the small staff that had run ISOMATA through its first two decades.
Ray gave Max and Bee his idea to create a volunteer support group in 1967 and they endorsed the idea at their retirement party that summer. Ray became the first president of the ISOMATA Associates. Membership was a mix of ISOMATA faculty and staff, and Idyllwild residents who wanted to take an active role in the school’s activities.
As far as I can determine, I am the sole survivor of the 1950 first ISOMATA summer who also was present at the 1967 beginning of the Associates.
For 50 years now, the Associates have been a critically important group for the continuous building of ISOMATA/IA to its current rating as one of the top-quality in-resident music and arts schools in the world. It helped perpetuate “The Essence of Idyllwild Arts” that leadership has steadfastly maintained.
At one point in the school’s history, the Associates saved the school when it could have become a failure. That was the early 1980s period when the IAF leadership came to the conclusion that the University of Southern California management of its Idyllwild Campus was preventing desired growth. Max had astutely included in that 1967 agreement with USC that if either side became dissatisfied with the partnership, USC would, before taking any other action, offer the campus back to IAF.
That happened in 1985. Bill Lowman then became the new director. The USC-IAF partnership ended and IAF became fully responsible. Max had passed in June 1970. Bee Krone was very worried that resources would not be available for IAF to successfully make the change. Foundation members and the Associates stepped forward and the transition was successful.
Salena and I congratulate the current Associates leadership and all its membership for making “The Impossible Dream” a continuing, and improving, reality.
Bob Krone, Ph.D.
ISOMATA Class of 1950
IAF Trustee since 1967
June 11, 2017
Note: Michael Fuller authored the book, “ISOMATA: The Place and Its People, Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, 1983.” This is the only book published on the school as of 2017. However, Fuller continued to record the history of ISOMATA and Idyllwild Arts through 2016, and has drafted a manuscript for a book to be titled, “A World in Tune: The Idyllwild Arts Story.” President Pamela Jordan will write the foreword. An early 2018 publication is predicted.