As you walk through the beautifully and newly refurbished wooden doors that face Elm Street and into the majestic Cincinnati Music Hall
, thank the Society. The society decided to give the doors a facelift to coincide with the re-opening of Washington Park.
And when you sip from the water fountains or flush the toilets at the Hall, you can again thank the all-volunteer group that celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The nonprofit's mission has not changed since it was formed: To help preserve, enhance and support one of the city’s iconic masterpieces.
The group may be best known and recognized for its work in bringing the Albee Mighty Wurlitzer Organ
to the Hall, where is was permanently installed and dedicated in 2009. An anonymous donor gave the society $1.4 million to move the organ from the Emery Theatre to Music Hall’s ballroom.
But Society president Don Siekmann points to the sum of seemingly small accomplishments, such as the new ticketing system, refurbishing the front doors and upgrading the plumping, that stack up to ensure that the Hall continues to inspire artists and awe audiences.
“Music Hall is really the great musical icon of Cincinnati,’’ he says. “It’s our job to get that word out and provide support. We are the guys who really keep it going.”
Siekmann says he is confident that only a fraction of the region’s 1.5 million residents have ever been inside the Hall, which was built in 1878 with private money raised from what is believed to be the nation’s first matching-grant fund drive and is still judged to be one of the most majestic theaters in the world. The Springer Auditorium, which can seat more than 3,500, is home to the CSO, Cincinnati Opera
, Cincinnati Ballet
and the May Festival
Many believe the Hall is also home to ghosts, in large part because it was built on former graveyards. In addition to regular tours hosted by Society volunteers, there are also guided ghost tours
of the Hall.
Seikmann says the group’s greatest opportunity and challenge is to ensure two things: Introducing more residents and visitors to the Hall and to continue to attract new members.
“We want to continue to get people involved so they tell the stories of Music Hall,’’ he says.
• Buy tickets
to the annual Wurlitzer Organ show slated for 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 13. The event sells out every year.
• Take a tour
and learn about the Hall's storied history -- there’s even guided ghosts tours.
to the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall.
• Volunteer to be a tour guide by calling 513-744-3293.
By Chris Graves