2014 SPMH Annual Meeting
The chandeliers sparkled and the room buzzed with energy for the SPMH 2014 Annual Meeting on Monday, September 8, in Corbett Tower. Attendees were Music Hall supporters - members of SPMH and Music Hall volunteers, arts organizations, and business leaders. President Don Siekmann opened the meeting by restating the SPMH mission and thanking members for standing tall for Music Hall. In reviewing highlights from the previous year, Siekmann singled out the Wurlitzer concert series and previewed the next holiday performance. He also reminded attendees of the SPMH ornament initiative and the Music Hall documentary, all of which were available for purchase that evening, discounted for members.
Peter Koenig, vice president and head of the nominating committee, thanked retiring directors Adrienne Beaudet Cowden, Jodi Geiser, Gene L. Saenger, John Senhauser, and Jim Tarbell. He introduced the new directors Megan Hall, Tricia Johnson, Kenneth Kreider, Paul Muller, and Bethany Vondran, and acknowledged the SPMH officers, who were re-elected for another year.
SPMH vice president Ed Rider gave an update on the restoration of the organ carvings, and thanked the Green Acres Foundation for donating a panel that belonged to Mrs. Nippert. The Cincinnati Museum Center also provided pieces that had been in storage since the organ was decommissioned. Conservator Tom Heller now has approximately 18 organ panels in various phases of restoration.
Rider also provided an update on the cleaning of the Reuben R. Springer statue in the Music Hall lobby and announced a donation by SPMH to the Music Hall Revitalization Company, as an advance toward the organization's total commitment.
SPMH provides tours of Music Hall, and board member Andrew Bowen reported that SPMH had hired a part-time, on-site tour program coordinator, and described the expanded tour program. In addition, SPMH has provided docent vests for tour guides and updated the sales brochure.
Following a performance by Cincinnati Opera artists baritone Joseph Lattanzi, mezzo-soprano Adria Caffaro and pianist Carol Walker, President Siekmann introduced Murray Sinclaire, Jr. Sinclaire replaced former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as chair of the Cultural Facilities Task Force.
Sinclaire provided an update on Music Hall Revitalization Plan B, significant progress has been made:
- Community awareness at all time high
- The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a nonprofit organization, has placed Music Hall on its ''Most Endangered'' list
- Task Force confirmed that Music Hall must be renovated now and is top community priority
- Key corporate and civic leaders are committed to Music Hall
- City of Cincinnati, which owns Music Hall, is highly supportive
Sinclaire detailed next steps for the Task Force, including looking for additional donors in support of the Music Hall revitalization plan, including financial support from the city of Cincinnati. He added that the Music Hall Revitalization Company is not looking to further reduce the scope of the renovation.
Otto M. Budig, head of the revitalization group spearheading renovations of Cincinnati's Music Hall, spoke to the group and acknowledged many could still be angry over the Hamilton County Commission decision, but emphasized that support is needed for passage of the tax. While admitting "there's a hill to climb here", Budig remains confident that philanthropic support will be found - and quickly, because the tenant organizations need to make alternate performance plans for the renovation period.
Photographs provided by Philip Groshong, Philip Groshong Photography.