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So Cincinnati: Music Hall

Updated: Monday, October 28 2013, 04:01 PM EDT
CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- The renovating of a Cincinnati icon has been postponed again. The Music Hall Revitalizion Company says it will delay construction for a year while it raises money for the project. The City of Cincinnati is looking to sell Music Hall to the company for one-dollar so it can cash in on tax credits not available for public projects.

Music Hall is 134 years old and has played a huge role in Cincinnati art history. Local 12's Joe Webb takes a look at a familiar old place that is "So Cincinnati".

Since 1878, music has filled Cincinnati's Music Hall. This morning, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra rehearsed in the opulent old auditorium that is the heart of local arts history. "A lot of people associate Music Hall with the fine arts. We're very proud of the fact that in Cincinnati we have the 5th oldest symphony orchestra in the country, the 2nd oldest opera company in the country and the longest running choral festival in the Western hemisphere all in this building."

Music Hall was originally built to house the May Festival. Benefactor Reuben Springer paid half the bill after rain on a tin roof interrupted a choir in the original hall that sat here. There's no tin roof on this place. Architect Samuel Hannaford, who also built city hall, created the red brick Venetian Gothic masterpiece in 3 phases.

Stately and intricate outside....ornate and classy inside, Music Hall is a throwback. And it has seen it all. "The White Stripes have played here, Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Miles Davis, Liberace, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra...the list goes on and on of the acts who've played here."

On the stage where CSO will perform tonight and tomorrow, Aaron Copland premiered his Fanfare For The Common Man.

Music Hall is obviously best known as the home to CSO, the opera and the May Festival. But in 134 years, this place has hosted all sorts of things..many of them had nothing to do with music. The 1880 Democratic National Convention was here and sent General Winfield Hancock off to defeat by James Garfield. It was also home to several 19th century industrial expositions. Music Hall would serve the city for many decades thereafter, essentially, as its first Convention center.

Not always true to its name, Music Hall was home to high school graduations, weddings and private parties. Whatever brought you here, if the event wasn't memorable, the space was. "I think it's the connections people have to it. But it's not only the connections our generation has but every generation proceeding us could tell stories that connect them to the building."
So Cincinnati: Music Hall


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