Music Hall: Renovation Overview
By Erica Reid
While the May Festival 2017 season takes place in the beautiful Taft Theatre, we are now fewer than five months from the unveiling of the May Festival’s home for 2018 and onward: the renovated Music Hall, opening on October 6. If you haven’t been following the project carefully, here are a few of the highlights:
Refreshing Corbett Tower. The Society for the Preservation of Music Hall (SPMH) has overseen every aspect of Corbett Tower’s extensive restoration, including removing the drop ceiling to reveal 14 feet of additional ceiling height. Corbett’s coved windows have been restored, historic stenciling has been discovered and replicated, and the entire space has been freshened up and made new. You will hardly recognize this jaw-dropping space.
Uncovering historic details. It isn’t just Corbett Tower that has been restored. This fall, wander Music Hall to discover formerly hidden transoms, windows, coves and more. So much has been hiding under drywall, and the architects have been salvaging (and featuring) every possible historic element. We can’t wait for you to see these secrets for yourself!
Unveiling new spaces. The architects overseeing the renovation have made clever use of under-utilized spaces in Music Hall, including empty carriageways that haven’t seen a horse in decades. While Springer Auditorium will look and feel familiar, spaces such as a brand new rehearsal studio will make room for exciting new experiences, adding additional function and character to our beloved hall.
Introducing the audience lounge. This new space, created for wine and conversation, is a perfect example of the new spaces we have created. Front and center in the Grand Foyer, it is also a great place to pause if you’re running late or need to step out.
A facelift for the Hall. SPMH is helping take a few years off of Music Hall’s beautiful façade, bringing it closer in line with Samuel Hannaford’s original vision. The organization is overseeing the repair and replacement of finials and other decorative ornamentation on the face of the Hall, as well as re-staining certain bricks to reveal patterns that had previously been sand-blasted from view.
Improving safety and accessibility. Look for elevators that reach all floors, a street-level handicapped entrance at the Box Office, increased wheelchair and companion seating options, plus a state-of-the-art assistive listening device system.
Enhanced concessions and restrooms. More restrooms on every level (over 50% more!) means less waiting. For concessions, enjoy enhanced service, local offerings and premium coffee. Pre-order your drink to have it ready for you at intermission.
Music Hall’s Community Open House, presented by ArtsWave. On Saturday, October 7 from 10 am-3 pm, Music Hall will be flooded with energy, art, music—and our neighbors! Made possible by ArtsWave, this free event is one of your first chances to explore the renovated Music Hall. The May Festival, CSO, Pops, Ballet and Opera will be scheduling performances throughout the day to make the Community Open House an unforgettable event. Look for more information over the summer! [OCT 7]
The Storm That Built Music Hall. History tells us that Reuben Springer’s quest to fundraise for Music Hall began with a thunderstorm so raucous that it drowned out the voices of the May Festival Chorus, who had been performing in a temporary “Saengerhalle.” In a nod to that history, the CSO and May Festival have created a concert that celebrates the music performed on that stormy 1875 season, including Bach’s Magnificat and Brahms’ Triumphlied. Looking to the future, the May Festival will also premiere a choral commission by composer Julia Adolphe, based on poetry by Dr. Elizabeth Alexander. It is a can’t-miss program, and a wonderful opportunity to hear the May Festival Chorus before their first Festival season in Music Hall (May 2018). [NOV 4-5]