This past Saturday evening offered a preview of the new Stissing Center space with an open block party. Town Supervisor Darrah Cloud and a host of local backers and sponsors were on hand to greet people. Local musicians like trumpeter Matt Finley and singer Denise Jordan were present. Raw vegetables, wine, and cake were freely available in the new auditorium for theater and concerts; the new auditorium will have a seating capacity of 280 or standing room for 600. That’s a large for a small town. The Center will feature assorted programs to attract a wide local constituency for in varied cultural genres as well as civic and social programs. Stissing Center also hopes to serve as an incubator for local charitable organizations.
I chatted with actor Brian Keeler who has a confident and practical vision for the newly reconstructed building near the town’s only stop light. The new wooden stage and surrounding frame should offer good acoustics. The stage provides ample room for large ensembles or theatrical work. There is an elevator to the basement for handicap access to the rest rooms. The men’s room was spare but sensibly designed. They intend to install a kitchen in the basement if fundraising succeeds as they expect. Actor’s dressing rooms have yet to be added, although chairs are now stacked in the basement. The town can look forward to a variety of events. The central floor of the auditorium was full of happy citizens amiably free dancing to an electronic dee-jay on the stage. The building’s original tin-pressed ceilings have been preserved.
The first musical event on September 7 at 8 pm will be “An Evening with the Wynton Marsalis Quintet” which features Wynton Marsalis, trumpet; Dan Nimmer, piano; Carlos Henriquez, bass; Camille Thurman, saxophone; Domo Branch, drums. This Benefit Concert is made possible by a generous grant from Eliot Sptizer.
On September 21 at 2 pm the New York Theatre Organ Society will present the film The Phantom of the Opera, accompanied by John Baratta performing the original music score. This event will be free.
On October 5 at 4 pm Stissing Center will present an evening of famous standards by Bard College’s brass and percussion ensembles. The TMI Calendar section will be listing all forthcoming events at Stissing Center.