CINCINNATI — The Troy-Hayner Cultural Center will host a day trip on Aug. 7 to tour the historic Cincinnati Music Hall and an Under the Rhine tour of the Over-the-Rhine district.
The Cincinnati Music Hall Tour will take them backstage and beyond with a tour through private and public spaces in the recently revitalized majestic structure. The Cincinnati Music Hall was designed by architect Samuel Hannaford and is considered one of the last and best examples of the Victorian Gothic Revival Style. Some of its spaces’ most notable features include the steeply-pitched gable roof, the corbelled brick, the tracery featured on the front windows, and the large rose window on the facade of the building. Additionally, the facility varies from a traditional performance hall in the fact that the Music Hall is actually made up of three distinct and separate buildings; the Music Hall, the North Exposition Building, and the South Exposition Building. The design also includes carriage passageways designed for easy entrance in the case of bad weather.
The first performance took place on May 14, 1878. An estimated 6,000 saw the opera “Alceste” by Christoph Willibald Gluck performed, as well as Beethoven’s “Eroica” symphony. These performances were especially significant as they included the May Festival Chorus and the Cincinnati Opera, two groups that were officially transitioning from other venues, such as the Cincinnati Zoo, to the Music Hall as their permanent homes. The Music Hall was then used independently for over a year until both the North and South Exposition Halls were officially completed on Sept. 2, 1879.
In 2016, the Cincinnati Music Hall was closed for a 14-month, $143 million renovation. The renovation included the addition of 30,000 additional square feet of usable space, as well as the structural and cosmetic renovation of the building’s traditional performance and event spaces. The space officially opened to the public Oct. 6–7, 2017 with a weekend of performances.
There are two main performance spaces within the hall. Springer Auditorium is the main auditorium, named in honor of founding patron Reuben Springer. It seats 2,289 people for symphony performances and 2,439 people for the Cincinnati Pops. It serves as home for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati POPS Orchestra, the Cincinnati Ballet, the Cincinnati Opera, and the May Festival Chorus. It is one of the largest permanent concert halls in the U.S., fourth only to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, and DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.
The Springer Auditorium also houses the iconic Music Hall Chandelier. The Czechoslovakian piece weighs approximately 1,500 pounds with a diameter of 21 feet. It also includes 96 candles, each lit with an individual bulb. The Music Hall Ballroom accommodates up to 1,300 people and is the second largest meeting space in the city, encompassing nearly 20,000 square feet. In July 2007, organ rebuilder Ronald F. Wehmeier of Cincinnati announced the Mighty Wurlitzer theater organ that once graced the old Albee Theater in Cincinnati would be restored and installed in Music Hall’s Ballroom for a New Year’s Eve 2009 debut.
The Troy-Hayner Cultural Center group will take a walking tour of Cincinnati to learn about Cincinnati’s hidden history on one of the Top Five Underground Tours in the United States. They will enjoy a stroll through the Over-the-Rhine District, home to America’s largest set of historical landmarks. They will also visit buildings in the Gateway District that were home to over 130 saloons, bars, beer gardens, and theaters. Then, they will descend below the city streets to a hidden crypt where some of Cincinnati’s first residents were buried and explore newly discovered tunnels vital to Cincinnati’s brewery heritage. Lunch will be at the Historic Taft Ale House.
Those interested in taking part on this trip can register and pay online at www.troyhayner.org. For more information, call David at the Hayner, (937) 339-0457.