Cincinnati Music Hall has undergone multiple renovations since the original completion in 1878 with a first major renovation in 1970. In 2010, the Music Hall Revitalization Company was formed for the extensive planning, development and renovation that occurred in the last few years. Fast forward to October 2017, when Music Hall grandly reopened to the public after major renovations were finished to restore much of the original Music Hall.
The Society for Preservation of Music Hall (SPMH), a non-profit organization that partners with the Music Hall Revitalization Company, provided research, funding and renovation assistance to this iconic building. SPMH continues to preserve, improve, promote and provide education about Cincinnati Music Hall.
Completed significant renovations include the refurbished Czechoslovakian crystal chandelier and new seating in the Springer Auditorium, restoration of some of the organ panels, the three original designed tracery windows facing Washington Park, plus the original code ceiling in Corbett Tower. More renovations are in the plan to be added within the next couple of years.
SPMH and the Music Hall Revitalization Company spent $143 million on the completed renovations but an additional estimated $1 million will be needed to cover the cost of the long-term plan. The long-term strategy is to preserve the building and replace what needs to be replaced including adding more ornamentation on the facades of Music Hall as well as renovation to the gables and roof.
“We've got drawings to go forward with the project, but we are considering trying to do an independent fundraising project to implement those additional exterior facade work,” said President of SPMH, Peter Koenig.
The short-term plan is to improve the lighting on the art carved wood panels and rearrange some of the statues in the hall. Considering all of the events that Music Hall hosts, the key ingredient of both short-term and long-term plans is to continue preservation efforts.
“The events that have occurred there are a significant part of what makes Cincinnati, Cincinnati and what makes Cincinnatians who they are,” says Koenig. “It's a part of our DNA.”
SPMH Backstage and Beyond TourAs a part of continuing preservation efforts, the Cincinnati Music Hall has more than 40 volunteers that give 1-hour tours of the building during each month. Tickets are $15 and proceeds go to SPMH.
Thus far, SPMH has received mostly positive comments from the public since Music Hall's reopening.
“Are there some complaints? Yes, I mean you're always going to have people complain about things and, you know, when warranted, they're being investigated and evaluated,” says Koenig. “I'm sure they'll be some tweaking and fine tuning as we continue to inhabit the hall.”
The Cincinnati Symphony just finished a successful season and with the May Festival beginning this weekend, it is expected to host 300 performers including the Walnut Hills High School marching band.
Some of the upcoming performances for the 2018-2019 season include Leslie Odom Jr. from the Broadway musical, Hamilton, presented by Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the U.S. premier of “Another Brick in the Wall” by Cincinnati Opera, and the Cincinnati Ballet’s Peter Pan. Tickets can be purchased online.