2001 SPMH Annual Meeting

On Wednesday, September 19, President Marlene Johnson welcomed members and friends to the 9th annual Meeting and Reception of the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall. An evening high came when Patricia Corbett, attended by the CSO's newly welcomed Maestro Paavo Järvi, pushed the button officially opening Music Hall's first passenger elevator. The capacious elevator represents the most recent of the Corbett Foundation gifts to Music Hall, directed to making the venerable historic building accessible to all.

Proceeding from North to South Hall, Mrs. Corbett and Maestro Järvi formalized the second significant moment with the official opening of the renovated Green Room, funded by generous individuals and SPMH donors, and the beautifully enhanced Music Director's Suite, a personal gift from Mrs. Corbett.

During the meeting agenda following the dedication, President Johnson presented a brief litany of the Corbett legacy to Music Hall, dating from the initial rescue of Music Hall from demolition in the 1960s, a legacy totaling some $7.5 million over the years. Mrs. Johnson concluded her remarks with the presentation of the Mayor's proclamation expressing the city's high regard and appreciation for the Corbett's ongoing contributions to the Cincinnati community.

Nominations: Chairman of the Nominating Committee, Barbara Harshman, presented the slate of continuing officers and the newly-elected members of the Board.

  • Judith Wittlin
  • Theresa Abell
New officers for 2007-2008 were named.
  • President: Marlene Johnson
  • Vice Presidents: Barbara Harshman
    Norma Petersen
  • Recording Secretary: Karen McKim
  • Corresponding Secretaries: Joyce Holmes/Sue Sommer
  • Treasurer: Julia Stephen
  • Assistant Treasurer: Joyce VanWye

Archive Committee: This committee was formed and is chaired by Robert Howes, to take care of valuable historical material that came to the attention of SPMH this year. We have entered into an agreement with the Cincinnati Historical Society for that organization to permanently archive this and future material, along with what they already have. SPMH will work with the Historical Society to mount exhibits in Music Hall as appropriate.

Music Hall Ushers: SPMH salutes the 150 dedicated volunteer ushers who are among the first to welcome all those who attend a variety of events held throughout the year at Music Hall. Their backgrounds are as diversified as are the many events for which they volunteer. They include nurses, teachers, engineers, ministers, dentists, and housewives. Many are retirees, world travelers and sports enthusiasts! SPMH Trustee, Sue Sommer, began as an usher in 1985 and has done an outstanding job as chairperson of this group since 1990. Our heartfelt thanks to each of the ushers who consider it a privilege to be of service to Music Hall.

President Johnson thanked the Board and SPMH members for their ongoing efforts. She acknowledged Karen McKim of the Corbett Foundation and Dudley Taft, President of CAA, the overseeing organization for Music Hall. Mrs. Johnson registered appreciation to Ernie Toplis, Music Hall Manager and his cooperative staff, and Joyce VanWye, CoFounder of SPMH, for her unstinting support.

Music Hall ''Backstage Tours'' are alive and well. Our 30 volunteer tour guides are eager to share their knowledge and love of beautiful Music Hall with visitors from around the country and the world. Some guides are experts in the history of orchestra, opera or ballet. Some of our guides know more about the history of the building and the city of Cincinnati. Some guides love special audiences such as school children or amateur musicians. Each guide lends his or her own point of view to the tour, but Music Hall is always beautiful, historic and fascinating!

We already have 15 tours scheduled between September 1, 2001 and April 1, 2002. Tours were suspended in August 2001 due to renovation schedules. Now we are back to the usual whirlwind. There is a new Tour Guide Coordinator, Theresa Abell. She is learning the ropes and successfully keeps up with all of the enthusiastic tourists as well as the busy tour guides.

In July, a meeting of the tour guides was held at the home of SPMH's President, Marlene Johnson. Marlene introduced the new tour guide coordinator and discussed ideas for enhancing the tour guides' expertise as well as the audience's enjoyment. We have some terrific ideas that we plan to implement in the next few months.

If you are interested in the architecture, history or the music, or just the beauty of Music Hall, these tours are for you! The one-hour walking tours are free to non-profit groups. There is a nominal fee for profit-making organizations. If you belong to a group that would like to see the ''real'' Music Hall, please call (513) 744-3419 to obtain more information or schedule a tour.

Information for this report came from notes on the 2002 Annual Meeting provided by Joyce Holmes, Chairman.

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