2016 SPMH Annual Meeting
The 2016 Annual Meeting, was held on Tuesday, September 13. As work continued toward the revitalization of Music Hall, the meeting was held in the University Club. Pianist Don Hurd entertained attendees during the reception prior to the meeting.
President Peter Koenig opened the meeting with a warm welcome, and with sad news: SPMH co-founder and former Board President Norma Petersen had passed away just days before the meeting. Mr. Koenig cited Mrs. Petersen's dedication to Music Hall and contributions to the arts community at large. He also shared that earlier in the year, two former board members had passed: Barbara Boyd, a founding member of SPMH, and Joel Ebersole, a longtime member as well as an unofficial historian for the College of Music.
In recounting highlights from the year's work, Mr. Koenig included mention of the Wurlitzer Concert Series. Immediate Past-President Don Siekmann, the architect and moving force behind those concerts, spoke briefly about their popularity with hopes for them to return once Music Hall reopens. Mr. Siekmann also gave the Nominating Committee report, thanking retiring Directors Barbara Harshman, Ramon Rodiguez, Rosemary Schlachter and Sue Sommer.
New SPMH Directors are Phillip C. Long and William John Ryan. Mr. Long formerly held executive positions at Fifth Third Bank and then became Director and CEO of the Taft Museum. He currently is Director Emeritus of the Taft and continues to work in support of the arts in Cincinnati. Mr. Ryan's expertise is in financing and investment banking, and he is on the boards of the Taft Museum of Art, Downtown Council, Inc., serves on committees for ArtsWave and the Lindner Center of Hope.
Andrew Bowen and Thea Tjepkema recounted the successes of the SPMH ''Beyond the Bricks'' Tour Program under the direction of Ramona Toussaint. These include:
- An 80% increase in tour attendance
- Half of the guides are Certified Tourism Amabassadors
- Expanded tour programs, even though Music Hall is closed for renovation
- New Speaker Series and In-School Programs
- A donation from the Symphony Hotel and Restaurant for a voice amplification system for the outdoor ''Beyond the Brinks'' architectural tour of Music Hall
Ed Rider, chair of the Facilities Funding Committee, described the work funded by SPMH to move and store the Music Hall paintings, statuary and artifacts during construction. He also applauded Scott Santangelo, Director of Operations for Music Hall, for his work in the successful sale of those items that will not be part of Music Hall when it reopens. In addition, SPMH has given CET a grant for a program on the renovation of Music Hall.
Mr. Rider also cited the continuing work on the restoration of the organ panels, which is one of several key projects undertaken by SPMH.
Stephen G. Leeper, President and CEO of 3CDC, the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, provided attendees with an update on renovation activities and plans. He indicated that to date, construction is on schedule and on budget. The target completion date is October 2, 2017.
Some of the highlights of Mr. Leeper's presentation:
- The glass transom windows above the doors to Springer Auditorium have been uncovered
- Inside Springer Auditorium, the orchestra and gallery levels have been reframed for a new slope
- The stage pits have been expanded for a third lift to bring the orchestra into the same ''room'' as the audience
- With revised interior walls and wider seats and aisles, the maximum capacity is now 2,524 (a reduction of nearly 1,000 seats)
In addition, he detailed some of the surprises that have been uncovered during the work. Architectural features that have been discovered include:
- The painted glass transom found above the auditorium doors off the Main Lobby
- Under the carpet in the north and south lobbies: the original flooring
- Egyptian-theme painting on the east wall of the Ballroom
- Cast iron stair support on the second floor of the north lobby
- Lithographic plates were found in the north hall scene shop area, dating between the mid-to-late 19th century
Of particular interest to SPMH members was his description of the restoration of Corbett Tower. The room volume will be restored as closely as possible. Also, the plaster ceiling, cove, walls and original arches opening from the north lobby will be repaired and restored. Design plans include replicating the original wainscot stenciling on all surfaces.
In addition, the transoms above the windows facing Elm Street and Washington Park will be restored and the Corbett chandeliers that were in the main lobby will be relocated into Corbett Tower.
Following his presentation, Mr. Leeper turned the podium over to Otto M. Budig, Jr., President of the Music Hall Revitalization Company. Mr. Budig reflected on the SPMH Annual Meeting in Corbett Tower in 2013, when he urged everyone to have patience with the process, and said it was reassuring to see the details and progress that has been made since then. Mr. Budig hailed 3CDC as ''visionary partners, here and throughout the city.'' He emphasized to all attending the SPMH meeting that ''for all of us, there is no legacy more important than Music Hall.'' Additional work needs to be done, he said, adding that MHRC needs about $4 million dollars to properly finish the job.
In a question-and-answer period following his talk, individuals asked about access to Music Hall from Central Parkway. (Currently the city is balking at repairing or replacing the pedestrian bridge between the Towne Centre City Parking Garage and Music Hall.) Mr. Leeper said that there's a strong possibility that a shuttle system will be set up to bring patrons from that parking garage to the front doors of Music Hall.
Another question addressed the Music Hall timeline created by SPMH. Mr. Leeper indicated that the design company is looking at a visual electronic wall where people can see and interact with the elements of the timeline.
Photographs provided by Philip Groshong, Philip Groshong Photography.