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The Ohio Mechanics Institute held the Mechanics Exhibition, the first in a series of exhibitions of manufacturers and the arts. These expositions were held annually until 1861, the beginning of the Civil War, and resumed in 1869. The Cincinnati Industrial Expositions started in 1870 and are mentioned because the wings of Music Hall were built to accommodate these events.


The North American Saengerbund is organized in Cincinnati.


Cincinnati resumed holding expositions. As there were nearly 600 manufacturers of woolen goods in Ohio alone, ity representatives met with the Wool and Woolen Manufacturers' Association of the West and Northwest Society and, as they brought enough cash to cover expenses, convinced that organization Cincinnati would be the best site. So the Exposition of Textile Fabrics was held, but not in a structure designed for expos but in a building donated by Mr. David Sinton. The success of this endeavor convinced the business community that it would be important to hold such an event that included all manufacturers.


The Saengerbund Singing Society constructed Saenger Halle (Saengerhalle) at 14th & Elm. Business interests in the city contributed $5,000 toward the construction of the structure, and it was agreed that the building would be used for Cincinnati's first exposition.
This one structure was not big enough to hold all the exhibits and three more were erected just for the expo. These structures were known as Fine Art Hall, Mechanics' Hall, and Music Hall (not the current structure with the same name). A fifth building was used and called Power Hall.
The First Cincinnati Industrial Exposition opened on Wednesday, September 21. More than 300,000 people attended the nearly month-long expo. It was considered such a success that many cities planned to hold their own exposition.


Because of the success of the first two Industrial Expositions, Saengerhalle was enlarged and became known as Exposition Hall. The other four buildings were also improved and enlarged, and another structure - Horticultural Hall - was added.


Maria Longworth Nichols and her husband George Ward Nichols organized the first May Musical Festival.
Theodore Thomas conducted the performances in Exposition Hall. A more indepth Thomas biography is available here.


The May Musical Festival presented the American premiere of Bach's Magnificat.
Reuben R. Springer, a prominent businessman and community leader, promoted building a new hall in which to present the Musical Festivals. Read the story.


Civic leaders Julius Dexter, W. H. Harrison, T. D. Lincoln, Joseph Longworth, Robert Mitchell, John Shillito and Reuben Springer organized the Music Hall Association to build the new hall.
Cincinnati architect Samuel Hannaford's firm was awarded the contract for new Music Hall.


Construction on new Cincinnati Music Hall ran into issues; work was fast-tracked after the delay.
Reuben Springer offered $10,000 to start Organ Society, to build an organ for Music Hall; an additional $20,000 was raised.
Work began on the Hook & Hastings organ for Music Hall. Organ screen panels were designed by Benn Pitman, Henry Lindley Fry, William Henry Fry. The panels were carved by their mostly-female students.


An "informal" opening of Music Hall was held April 8 as the May Festival chorus held their rehearsal before 300 invited guests.
The "magnificent" Music Hall opened the night of May 14th with the May Festival Chorus and an orchestra of musicians conducted by the renowned Theodore Thomas. The entire city was decorated with flags and bunting. Thousands of visitors mingled with proud citizens. The crowd around Music Hall gathered early and cheered as each carriage pulled up to the building. Reports estimate every seat inside Music Hall was filled. Additionally, three thousand individuals stood in every available space. When Reuben Springer entered the stage, the crowd stood and cheered wildly for a full fifteen minutes.
The College of Music opened on October 14 and was housed in Dexter Hall, the top floor of Music Hall.
Theodore Thomas shocked New York society by leaving that city to become the College's first Musical Director.
Construction began on north and south additions, or "wings," to hold the popular Expositions.


Once completed, Machinery or Power Hall (North Wing) and Art or Horticultural Hall (South Wing) brought the cost of the entire project to $446,000.
The Seventh Cincinnati Industrial Exposition was held in the new Wings and opened September 10. An estimated quarter of a million people attended the festivities, which included a four-mile-long procession, 500 school children singing "America," and appearances by President Rutherford Hayes, General W. T. Sherman, City officials, the Exposition Commission, and, of course, Reuben Springer. Hayes was one of a handful of presidents to visit Music Hall, either during their respective terms in office, or when out of office. Read the FMH Blog titled "Presidents, Future and Former Visited Music Hall."
The Women's Art Museum Association of Cincinnati moves its office to the second floor of the south wing of Music Hall. The space - with rent underwritten by art benefactor Reuben R. Springer - included two picture galleries and, in short order, a large gallery that opened as a permanent loan exhibition.
On December 11, General Ulysses S. Grant, soldier, statesman and Ohio native, is welcomed home in grand fashion. A procession consisting primarily of military groups and bands escorted the Grant Party from the train station at the Public Landing to Music Hall for a public reception.


In January, Grand Southern Railway held a banquet in Music Hall, serving over 2,100 guests at tables that filled the auditorium, a number of people over twice that of any banquet held in the nation at that time. The crowd required a “small army” of servers and unusual accommodations for meal preparation:
  • Power Hall and Horticultural Hall each had 14 ranges
  • A total of 28 cooks along with 28 assistants prepared meals
  • Dishes were washed in the areas between the buildings (the carriageways)
  • The west end of the areas between buildings was designated for “wines, cigars, and ices”
The Democratic National Convention at Music Hall nominated General Winfield Scott Hancock for President. Susan B. Anthony and several other suffragists spoke at the convention to lobby for the Democrats to include their plank in the Democratic platform.
Following months of discord, Theodore Thomas resigned as Music Director of the College of Music. At the same time, Colonel George Ward Nichols resigned as President of the College. These actions had been a long time coming. Mr. Thomas wanted changes in the College, the curriculum and teachers, which Col. Nichols denied as too costly. It was reported, though, that Mr. Thomas simply wanted to leave to pursue other interests.
The Eighth Industrial Exposition opened September 8 in Music Hall. As remarkable as the first one was in 1879, Exposition Commissioners had nearly a year to make improvements. One of those enhancements occurred in the South - Horticultural - Hall, which featured beautiful plants and greenery surrounding a grotto and lake. The newest addition was that of a live two-foot-long alligator. Read the story of this creature and its "run" in Music Hall.
In September, a sizeable donation initiated the building fund for the construction of the Cincinnati Art Museum.


Reuben R. Springer purchased property south of Music Hall for the purpose of constructing a permanent home for the College of Music.
The Society for the Advancement of Science held its Thirtieth Annual Meeting in Music Hall.
A bicycle school is opened in Power (north) Hall in Music Hall in early February. Ads for the school ran throughout April of this year.
Adelina Patti, one of the most illustrious sopranos of the 19th century, was a soloist in this year's May Festival. She was so popular the only information needed in ads was the name PATTI. Adelina was one of three sisters - all of whom found fame on the stage with their incredible gift. Read about Amalia, Carlotta and Adelina Patti.


On May 15, 1882, the statue of Reuben Springer was dedicated in the vestibule of Music Hall. People from all walks of life attended the ceremony and filled the foyer and the balcony.
The Cincinnati Bicycle Club tried again. Members opened a school in the north wing of Music Hall. They admitted difficulties in stirring up interest in the sport in this city. To draw a crowd, the club celebrated the opening with bicycle-related entertainment, which included a parade and drill by member, races, and fancy riding.


Electric lighting was added to the Industrial Exposition in Music Hall.


Reuben Springer, philanthropist and benefactor of Music Hall, died on December 10.
In October, The Odeon opened as the new home of the College of Music. This structure housed classrooms, a concert hall, and a two-manual pipe organ.
The Courthouse Riot of 1884 began with a rally at Music Hall. The riot resulted in the deaths of 20 and the burning of the courthouse.
An Opera Festival is held at Music Hall to benefit survivors of the great flood.
In the latter part of 1884, the Queen City Roller Skating Rink opens in Floral Hall, the south wing of Music Hall. The rink, open all day, was described as the finest in America.
In December, President Rutherford B. Hayes attended the Veterans' G.A.R. Fair and delivered the opening address. Funds raised during the fair were the first toward construction of Memorial Hall.


In what was recorded at the time as the largest audience ever assembled in Cincinnati, The Reverend Samuel Porter Jones (aka Sam P. Jones) preached from the stage of Music Hall starting on January 24, 1886. The Southern Methodist revivalist was in town, delivering sermons at Music Hall and several other locations for over 3 weeks. Each presentation drew thousands, and for the January 24 service, 8-thousand people from all walks of life packed Music Hall. People squeezed into every conceivable place to sit or stand to hear the words of Reverend Jones. In a testament to his charisma, they were in place 15 minutes before the time the Reverend took the stage. The newspapers reported thousands more were turned away when the doors were closed.
Technical School of Cincinnati, predecessor of U.C. College of Engineering, was founded at Music Hall. The school continued to be held in Music Hall until 1902, when it was taken over by the University of Cincinnati.
The Cincinnati Art Museum, which had been housed in Music Hall, opened on May 17 in a newly-constructed building in Eden Park. It opened to the public the following day. 
May 18 through 22: The Seventh Cincinnati May Musical Festival. Theodore Thomas was Music Director for this prestigious event. The principal features of the Festival were Haydn’s “Creation,” Bach’s “Mass in B Minor,” Berlios’ “Damnation of Faust,” Beethoven’s “Third and Seventh Symphonies,: and selections from Wagner’s “Meistersinger” and “Flying Dutchman.” Thomas conducts an orchestra comprised of 118 musicians and there are 600 singers in the Festival Chorus.
The 13th Cincinnati Industrial Exposition opened on September 1. The Expo was billed as a "World of Industry" with novelties in every department. The entire structure was lighted with incandescent gas light in many colors. Businesses were closed and the parade was so large it seemed everyone was in it! Six divisions were presented, each with as many as three marching bands. One horse-drawn float was decorated to illustrate a birds-eye view of the city. Another float carried a huge stuffed polar bear.

New and special features of the Exposition included:

      • A brick-making department, which reportedly turned out 25-thousand bricks each day
      • In Power (north) Hall, visitors could find a railroad engine
      • An exhibit with relics of the old fireman's association of the city, with many pieces dating back to 1853:
        • Leather buckets used by the "bucket" brigade
        • Fire helmets
        • Wheels and axle of a hand engine
        • Fire company banners
      • an 82 and one-quarter pound watermelon
      • A wonderful Japanese Village showed men, women and children at work at their trades. They wore traditional costumes of “richness and elegance,” and illustrated the arts and industries of Japan

Features presented in every exposition, included morning concerts on the Grand Organ, floral displays, Educational and Household departments, and art exhibits, as well as the displays of industry and manufacturing equipment and processes.

The American Opera Company opened its first season in Cincinnati at Music Hall on November 22 for seven performances. Theodore Thomas, co-founder of the Cincinnati May Musical Festival (May Festival) was the Music Director of the Opera. Profits from the Opera season were given to the College of Music. Opening night was heralded because, while past opera seasons were successful in Music Hall, they were in German and Italian. This one was in English. A feature set up just for Opera week was a flower booth in the vestibule or entryway of Music Hall.


Centennial Exposition of the Ohio Valley and Central States celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of Cincinnati (14th Cincinnati Industrial Exposition).


The National Temperance Conference is held at Music Hall June 29 & 30.


In March, Sissieretta Jones made her Cincinnati debut in Music Hall. She received many ovations and much adulation from audiences and the press. She was given the moniker ''Black Patti'' after Adelina Patti. Despite her exceptional talent, Madame Jones was never able to achieve success as an operatic star in America. Read about Sissieretta Jones.


William McKinley, Governor of Ohio in 1894 and elected President in 1897, attended Memorial Day exercises in Music Hall.


Contracts were awarded for the reconstruction of Music Hall. The hall closed in October for extensive renovation following a standing-room-only rehearsal concert by the May Festival Chorus. Get a full description of Springer Auditorium's extensive renovation.


An Editorial in the May 8 edition of The Cincinnati Commercial Gazette said it best: "The old Music Hall has gone. In its place is a modern opera-house." The interior of Music Hall was completely reconstructed. The building went from essentially being a wide open, nearly flat space to something resembling the configuration we see today. The remodeling installed a working stage with proscenium, orchestra pit, raked seating and upper and lower balconies that spanned the back and sides. Additional details on the work done at this time, along with information on improvements made to Music Hall throughout the years, can be found on the "Renovations, Remodels and Redecorations" page.

Opening night of the Twelfth May Festival marked the formal dedication of the new Music Hall.

Ex-President Benjamin Harrison and his wife came to town. President Harrison spoke at a meeting of the Hamilton County Republican Party held in Music Hall, and he and Mrs. Harrison attended a performance at Music Hall.

At a meeting of the stockholders of the Music Hall Association, it was decided to change the name of the hall to "Springer Hall" out of respect for the memory of the late Reuben R. Springer. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra moved to Music Hall from Pike's Opera House.


A roller skating academy is opened at Music Hall. It's billed as the "Finest Rink in America" featuring a 90x250-foot-maple skating surface and skate rental.


First Cincinnati Fall Festival and Industrial Exposition (continuing to 1923) is held at Music Hall.


The Great Organ is overhauled by J.M. Rimmer, an organ expert from the Hook & Hastings Factory in Boston.


President Theodore Roosevelt spoke to a crowd of over 8,000 in Music Hall Auditorium. His visit could have ended in catastrophe, as sparks from an electrical wire set a curtain on fire in Mechanical (North) Hall. Exposition attendants put out the fire quickly and very few in the packed auditorium knew about the incident, thus averting a panic.

Roosevelt was one of a number of presidents who visited Music Hall. Discover which presidents, former and future, appeared at Music Hall, and why.

The night before the beginning of the 1902-1903 academic year, a fire nearly decimated the College of Music, which was directly to the south of Music Hall. Get more information about the fire at the College of Music.


Composer Richard Strauss conducted the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at Music Hall.
The May Musical Festival remained the standard for choral music for Cincinnati and for this country. It also remained a key social event - more so this year as 12 boxes were built in the auditorium to accommodate those individuals who wanted preferred seating and could afford it.


The mural "Allegory of the Arts," by Arthur Conrad Thomas, was installed in center of ceiling of main auditorium.
Several people attending a concert screamed, panicked and ran to the exits after hearing noise from the roller-skating rink in the adjoining Music Hall building. Ushers calmed the stricken individuals, explained the source, and the patrons returned to their seats.


Ohio Valley Exposition was held in Music Hall. It celebrated completion of world's largest movable dam at Fernbank on the Ohio.
William Howard Taft, a Cincinnatian and frequent Music Hall visitor, attended his first May Festival as the nation's President. While at Music Hall, he dedicated the statue of Theodore Thomas, which is now located in the lobby of the north wing.
February 21 through Feb. 26: the Third Cincinnati Auto Show was held in a new venue, Music Hall, the structure that would be home for the show for many years to come. Another change for this year: the show was presented by the Automobile Club of Cincinnati. The public came to see over 60 different types of machines which filled the south hall. There were 200 cars on display, as well as power boats, motorcycles and accessories. Music Hall was lavishly decorated for the event:
  • A giant Rookwood fountain was stationed at the main entrance
  • A green carpet blanketed the floor
  • Tropical greenery featuring berries and flowers gave attendees who braved the winter weather the feeling of being in the courtyard of a Florida hotel
Attendees were treated to music from a 25-piece band and a first-class cafe during the show's six-day run. Additional details on the auto show, and a number of photos, can be found in the "Auto Shows in Music Hall" blog. Two previous auto shows were presented by the Automobile Dealers Association in other locations in the city.


Citing Music Hall as "an ideal spot for boxing and wrestling matches," it was George Hackenschmidt, the Russian Lion, vs Adolph Ernst, described as a husky Dutchman, in the ring, on stage in Music Hall's auditorium. Kara Osman was advertised as Hackenschmidt's opponent, but he was a no-show. The event was held on Thursday, January 12, and was the first time the hall was used for a professional sporting event since it opened in 1878. The bout was not well attended; reports blamed bad weather and "inferior preliminary arrangements."


Springer Auditorium was "refreshed" with the installation of new seating and new electric lights and re-opened in time for the Twentieth Biennial May Festival.
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's board moves CSO performances to the recently-completed Emery Auditorium, a more intimate and less expensive venue.


On March 22, high winds nearly toppled a sixty-foot (that’s 60 feet tall) flag pole on Music Hall’s roof. The pole, which weighed several hundred pounds, hung precariously from one connector. This triggered fears it could go through the roof. Workmen removed it and the following day the Cincinnati Enquirer reported the pole would be replaced in a few days.


The Ohio Valley Electrical Exposition at Music Hall celebrated the electrical age.


Danceland at Music Hall is unveiled as the "classiest dance palace" in the city. Danceland, which was located in the north wing of Music Hall, opened in mid-to-late November and provided 27,000 square feet for patrons, bands and entertainers. A newspaper ad indicated that, for Thanksgiving weekend, Danceland would be open Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday nights.


In October, as the Influenza Pandemic continued to spread unabated, the Cincinnati Board of Health ordered the closing of churches, schools, performances venues and public meeting places. General Hospital dedicated one entire pavilion to the care of influenza patients, and once accommodations at that venue were exhausted, the North Wing of Cincinnati Music Hall was fitted up as an emergency hospital ward. Nearly 100 beds were installed, and almost immediately filled with soldier students from the University of Cincinnati and the Ohio Mechanics Institute. The soldiers housed at Music Hall were said to be mild flu cases - that is, none were stricken with pneumonia. These student-soldier patients recovered and the emergency military hospital at Music Hall closed on October 28. Read about the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 in Cincinnati.
U.S. and Allied Governments' War Exposition was held at Music Hall in December. The exhibit took up all the space inside Music Hall including the Danceland ballroom.


In late February, the Shriners held the first real indoor circus in Springer Auditorium.
Due to the dangerous condition of the roofs of the wings, the city's building commissioner ordered the north and south wings closed to the public until extensive repairs can be made to bring the entire structure up to city and state building codes. The Cincinnati Music Hall Association denied reports that the wings will be razed.
The Cincinnati Music Hall Association proceeded with remodeling of Music Hall proper, which consisted of the installation of an automatic sprinkler system, rewiring, and reconstruction of balcony stairways.
The Chamber of Commerce floated the idea of Music Hall to be part of a proposed civic center. The area for the center also would include the Odeon, YMCA, Washington Park and Memorial Hall, and extend as far back as 12th and Central.
As the old instrument had outlived its usefulness, a campaign is undertaken to finance reconstruction of the Great Organ. Mid-year The Cincinnati Music Hall Association awarded the contract to the Austin Organ Company.


"Modernization" of the original Hook & Hastings organ marked the beginning of the end for grand old instrument. The great organ was dedicated anew the first night of the Golden Jubilee of the May Festival.
On Wednesday, August 29, at the Cincinnati Fall Festival, marriage vows were exchanged in Music Hall before a nearly packed house. The wedding, which was carried by radio to guests throughout the country, featured eight groomsmen and 18 bridesmaids.
The opening of Danceland's fall dancing season is delayed while improvements were made to the north wing of Music Hall.


Music Hall is transformed into a 15th century cathedral setting for Max Reinhardt's medieval spectacle, The Miracle.
The first annual Woman’s World-Home Beautiful Show was held in Music Hall from March 18-25. The show featured a full-size, completely furnished brick dwelling (model home), constructed and landscaped, in the north hall. The model home was described as an "English-type bungalow" that could be built anywhere for between $5,000 and $6,000. Once the show ended, the house was dismantled, and then re-constructed on a lot in Cincinnati. Check out more on the Home Show and see photos of Model Homes built in Music Hall.

There were 300 exhibits which featured everything from furniture, appliances, plumbing and electrical fixtures to radios, musical instruments, cars and clothing. "Birdland" was set up to display an array of feathered pets for the home. There were contests - dressmaking, bread and pie baking, the best fudge and a baby beauty contest - and prizes. Entertainment included an educational film titled “Fountain of Youth.”

From March 9-14 the first annual Radio Exposition was held in Music Hall. The event featured exhibits of radios of all kinds, entertainment, and educational displays of the latest in radios. Each day one of three local radio stations broadcast live from Music Hall in a specially-built-booth.


In December, general plans for renovation of Music Hall are drawn up. $600,000 worth of improvements are planned, including:
  • transforming the north wing into a sports arena that could be converted into an exposition hall
  • the south wing would be renovated to contain an exposition hall and a hall for dances, dinners and conventions
  • installing new seats and painting Springer Auditorium
  • the addition of new, rear, street-level entrances.
As the city had invested a considerable amount in constructing Central Parkway, those entrances were identified as the new "front entry" of Music Hall.


On the 26th of May, the City of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Music Hall Association entered into an agreement whereby, for the sum of one dollar ($1.00), CMHA owned and, within three years, would remodel Cincinnati Music Hall.
Despite the condition of the wings' roofs, the annual Auto Show was held in mid January in both wings. In addition, the stage of Music Hall was transformed into a dance floor complete with orchestras, with dancing every afternoon and evening until the show closed.
In February, the Music Hall Roller Rink held its final sessions before closing. Two days after the closure, rink manager Al Hoffmann opened a new rink at the northeast corner of Court and Central.
Work began mid-year on improvements for the North and South Wings, including new floors and roofs. While digging under the south wing, 65 graves were discovered. John D. Powell of the American Wrecking & Salvage Company stated that, with city approval, he would provide a coffin and re-inter them in that location.
On October 11, the College of Music unveiled a new three-story office and studio building, and achieved the largest student enrollment in its history.


Renovation was completed and Music Hall celebrated its 50th anniversary with Golden Jubilee celebration.
On January 25, on the second floor of the south wing of Music Hall, the Greystone Ballroom opened. It was billed as the nation's largest ballroom, able to accommodate 5,000 dancers on the maple floor. Anthony E. Scheffer was announced as the Greystone's managing director. The room was billed as "Absolutely Fireproof" and "Where 80 Per Cent of the Dancing Crowds Go."

Performers booked for the Greystone included Alex Jackson and His Plantation Band and the Plantation Jubilee Singers, who perform spirituals and blues. Discover more about the Greystone and featured performers.

Also on January 25, in the north hall, the Music Hall Arena opened to the delight of the fans who attended that night's boxing match. The arena was built without posts, giving every patron in each of the 5,800 seats full view of what was billed as the finest boxing ring in the country. For opening night, an orchestra and singers entertained the crowd between bouts. And in the opening match that night, Johnny Windsor of Pittsburgh defeated Cincinnati star welterweight Tony La Rose in only six rounds.
A few days later, on Friday, January 27, the new Music Hall Sports Arena swapped out the floor and set up for basketball. De Hart Hubbard's Comet-Model Drug team, five Black athletes, prevailed against the Wright Flyers of Dayton, an all-White team. The final score: 45 to 17.
On October 3, the newly-remodeled hall was dedicated during the Greater Cincinnati Industrial Exposition. In an address to all attending, Robert A. Taft, VP of the Cincinnati Music Hall Association, said that as soon as funding is available, the main auditorium will be redecorated and improved with new seats, and that the dressing rooms would be renovated. Taft also expressed hope that the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra would return to Music Hall.

A bust of composer Stephen Collins Foster was unveiled during the Exposition. Foster was hailed as "America's first and foremost genius in the musical world." His only child, daughter Marian Foster Welch, attended the event. Foster lived in Cincinnati for three years and during that time wrote songs that essentially started his career, giving him the reputation of composer.


Thomas Alva Edison was honored at Music Hall and throughout the nation on the 50th anniversary of the invention of the light bulb. ''Light's Golden Jubilee'' was the theme for the Cincinnati Edison Exposition. The Expo featured tributes, exhibits, ceremonies and speakers honoring Edison, an Ohio native. Music Hall was decorated with lights of all kinds, including a spectacular electrical fountain on Elm Street, in front of the building. While Mr. Edison was invited to attend, he sent his regrets and ''best wishes for the success of your exposition and program.''
A concert was held at Music Hall to celebrate the anniversary of the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts—now Cincinnati ArtsWave—which was founded in 1927 by Mr. and Mrs. Charles P. and Anna Sinton Taft.


Twelve-year-old child prodigy Yehudi Menuhin took the stage in Music Hall in a recital. Speculation was that some people came out of curiosity, to see someone that young on stage. One local writer referred Menuhin’s appearance as a “novelty concert.” However, everyone left Music Hall certain that they were part of musical history, having witnessed - and enjoyed - pure genius.
A Forum on Religion was held at Music Hall on April 24. The featured speakers were:
  • Clarence Darrow, attorney and lecturer, Chicago: Why I am an Agnostic
  • Father James R. O’Neill, S.J., pastor, Bellarmine Chapel, St. Xavier College: Why I am a Catholic
  • Rev. Jesse Halsey, Seventh Presbyterian Church: Why I am a Protestant
  • Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof, Temple Anshe Mayriv, Chicago, and contributing editor to The American Israelite: Why I am a Jew
The Forum was held under the auspices of The American Israelite.


Society of American Florists and Ornamental Horticulturists held the National Flower and Garden Show at Music Hall.
On November 17, the International Women's Athletic Association presented a program in the Music Hall Sports Arena, in which there were two wrestling matches, three boxing matches and a number of aerialists - all featuring women professional athletes. Ruby Allen, lightweight female wrestling world champion faced Nell Donald of Chicago, and Mae Stein world middleweight champion, appeared in a meet with Teddy Myers. Both Allen and Stein had wrestled in Cincinnati before, although not at Music Hall. The fighting and wrestling contests were all staged under the same rules and regulations for men's bouts.

Women's wrestling wouldn't occur again in Music Hall until the late 1930s.


The Greystone Ballroom celebrated its 7th birthday in January, 1935. There were dances and shows in the ballroom until mid year, when two announcements were made.
  • the lease and equipment of Greystone Ballroom was purchased by the Music Hall Association
  • in early July, Music Hall manager John Behle announced that, in order to increase revenue, Music Hall would feature more and varied events.
The ballroom was then remodeled and, on October 5, opened as the new Trianon Ballroom.
The Cincinnati Municipal Exposition and Spring Festival opened on May 27. Over 1,000 displays have been set up throughout Music Hall, not only in the exposition wings and main hall, but also in smaller rooms. Exhibitors included:
  • City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, State of Ohio and the U.S. Government
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Consumers' League
  • Community Chest
  • Red Cross
  • Art Museum, Rookwood Pottery, Taft Museum, and the Fine Arts Society
  • Public and parochial schools, including universities
  • Public Library
There were also "interactive" exhibits. For example, the Fire Department had ladders set up to "rescue" people from the roof of Music Hall. Several entities presented "plays" to illustrate their work, such as police tracking down a criminal. The Cincinnati Zoo brought in animals, including a Rhesus monkey, red fox, an Agouti, which is native to Central America, and a Kinkajou. The SPCA had dog shows comprised solely of mutts. Entertainment include music and theater performances. And the Park Board decorated the foyer and other key entry points with plants from their collection. The Exposition closed Sunday, June 9.
The Cincinnati Realtors' Home Show and Garden Exposition at Music Hall, held April 20-28, featured a model home! The house was constructed in the north wing and included open wall sections to show expo visitors how plumbing, wiring, and other usually-hidden features work.
On May 27, 2 days after the May Festival ends, the Cincinnati Municipal and Industrial Exposition opened at Music Hall and ran through June 9.


The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra returned to Music Hall, its original home. (The orchestra had moved performances to the Emery in 1912.) The October 16 concert opened the forth-third season before an appreciative audience that filled Music Hall. Everyone joined in as Eugene Goossens conducted the "Star Spangled Banner." The previous week, the Women's Committee of the CSO celebrated a milestone in their drive to fill Music Hall for every performance: 66% of available seats had been sold!
The Trianon Ballroom is redecorated with a motif of a giant land-bound airship and was renamed the Dirigible of Dance, where, according to advertising, "dancing is like floating on air."


Music Hall played an important part in the relief effort during the Flood of '37. Within the structure, the Red Cross set up a clothing depot, a water station and a central warehouse for food supplies, to aid families affected by the high water. The Civilian Conservation Corps used space in Music Hall as headquarters, to direct the activities of 225 youths involved in flood relief work.
Music Hall is almost razed. In May, the Music Hall Bondowners' Protective Committee initiated action to foreclose on the $736,000 mortgage on Music Hall. The Cincinnati Music Hall Association had made only part of one payment in the previous four years - even though the building had operated ''without deficit'' since 1932. CMHA cited the financial crisis that had gripped the nation since 1929 as reason for not making payments. Reports on inspections made by the city and state claimed that the structure was a fire hazard due to wiring issues and serious dust hazards. All involved agreed that an independent survey would determine Music Hall's fate.
The Music Hall ballroom was leased by Topper Amusement Company and, in September, opened as the Topper Ballroom.
In June the Cincinnati Boxing and Wrestling Commission approved a women's wrestling match, but acting city manager John D. Ellis refused to issue a permit. An editorial column in The Cincinnati Post chastised the move, saying "The right of ladies to as good as the right of men."


in late January 1938, The Sportsmen's Show transformed Music Hall's north and south wings into the great outdoors. Sports usually enjoyed in the great outdoors were moved inside, except for a few notable exceptions. Read about the Sportsmen's Show at Music Hall.
On December 2nd, the stage in Music Hall's Auditorium was the scene of a wrestling match between Betty Lee, described as a fiery sort of grappler, and "blonde Venus" Barbara Nichols. The following Friday 12/9, the Sports Arena in north hall was prepped to accommodate the largest crowd of the season when women's world champion MIldred Burke faced the winner of the previous bout - Betty Lee. Following these matches, women's wrestling became the "norm" and while they drew crowds, their grappling was never the main event.


The Music Hall Association filed for reorganization under the Bankruptcy Act.


Miami Valley Industry and Defense Exposition was held, furthering the regional effort in World War II.
In September, the City of Cincinnati acquired the title and responsibility for Music Hall complex for $222,500.
Two big nights for dancing at the Topper in Music Hall: On November 13 & 14, the RCA Victor Dance Caravan brings Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra, along with Buddy Rich and Frank Sinatra. A second orchestra is also featured: Shep Fields and his new Bluebird Recording Orchestra, with Ann Perry, Pat Foy and the Fields Saxophone Choir. This two-night event is billed as "your dance-dream cone true" on the world's largest dance floor. "Come to Watch! Come to Dance!"


Leonard Bernstein made his first appearance in Music Hall as soloist—Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Minor—and guest conductor with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Bernstein returned to Cincinnati a few months later (January 26 & 27, 1946) to conduct the CSO and as piano soloist for Schumann's Second Symphony in C Major, and again in early 1947 as guest conductor and piano soloist. Each time he mesmerized audiences with his conducting style, using only his hands and his head to communicate with the orchestra.
Holiday on Ice opened at Music Hall Arena. It was said to have been the first big ice event to appear in Cincinnati. The production traveled with the world's largest portable ice rink, 125 by 60 feet, which took up most of the floor of the North Hall. The show opened December 12th and ran through December 23rd with performances each evening and two matinees. A company of 100 ice skaters performed 24 acts and production numbers. Many of the skaters were said to have been among the leading stars in the country.


University of Cincinnati Bearcats basketball joined wrestling and boxing for three seasons in North Wing as the three sports held in Music Hall arena on a regular basis.
The entire city was excited for the first post-war May Festival. Opening night sold out, but music lovers could enjoy the performances on radio. WSAI carried the first half; WLW handled the second. While it appeared that radio was the salvation of those stuck at home, a radio announcer reportedly droned on, his voice blocking the first ten minutes of the performance with details on the history of May Festival and a description of the clothing worn by the soloists. Apparently in Music Hall his talking also irritated patrons who were seated within 30 feet of the radio booth. Despite claims that the booth's glass windows were soundproof, the announcer's voice bled through, irritating those in the house right box seats.
In early November, for the second year, Holiday on Ice was held in Music Hall's north hall. The production was under new management, which hired a Broadway producer to stage the production and a New York costume designer. The show featured "110 Glamour-icers and Ice-Squires (ballet)" and 30 starring headliners. Holiday on Ice would perform annually in Music Hall through 1948.


Before becoming an official station, WLWT did a few months of trial runs, broadcasting as W8XCT. Starting September 21, these experiments could be viewed on area television sets. That's when the Crosley Broadcasting Company, parent of W8XCT/WLWT, took two brand-new cameras to Crosley Field for a double-header, Reds-Pirates game, for what was the first television broadcast of a big league baseball game in Ohio. In late November, those experiments came to Music Hall, where the first local professional basketball game was telecast - from the Sports Arena in the north wing. The program covered two games: the Harlem Globetrotters against the New York Celtics, and St. Louis Brewers vs. Carlisle Indians. Nearly two weeks later, when the University of Cincinnati played the University of Kentucky at the Music Hall Sports Arena, cameras were again on hand, marking this as the first local college basketball telecast. Regularly scheduled broadcasts of wrestling from Music Hall's Sports Arena started later that month.


A big challenge to Music Hall's business occurred when the Cincinnati Garden opened on February 22, 1949. The new arena went on to host a number of events that formerly had been in Music Hall's north hall Sports Arena: U.C. basketball, boxing, wrestling, the Home Builder's show, roller derby, circus, concerts, and the national touring ice shows, to name just a few.


In October, the College of Music - which was situated next to Music Hall - offered the institution's first radio-television courses. To do this, the college rented Dexter Hall, which was on the third floor of Music Hall.


The Fifth Annual Home Show at Music Hall, May 12-20, was the last one held there. The following year, the Home Show moved to Cincinnati Gardens.
During the summer, new decor was installed for The Topper Club, that of ancient Egypt, with a Sphinx, a refreshment bar that was reminiscent of a desert oasis and pear trees along the terraces. Lighting effects were added. Everything was in place for the opening of the 1951-1952 season on Saturday, September 15.
During the holidays this year, Music Hall was used as a parcel post center.


January 19 & 20, contralto Marian Anderson made her debut with the CSO. While this was her first performance in Music Hall, Ms. Anderson made her Cincinnati debut in 1937 at Matinee Musicale at the Netherland. Her first public appearance on the concert stage was Sunday, Jan. 23 at the Taft Theatre. She has performed numerous times as part of the Artists Series, in performance at the Taft.General Dwight D. Eisenhower appeared at Music Hall as the Republican nominee for president.
The Cincinnati Music Hall Association announced Music Hall would be renovated.
On October 31, President Harry S. Truman came to Cincinnati as part of his Whistle-Stop Tour and gave a speech at Music Hall to a near-capacity, greatly-enthusiastic crowd in Springer Auditorium. A recording of his speech is online at the Truman Library and Museum.


The World Premiere of ''Taming of the Shrew'' brought opera back to Music Hall.


In early May, a grant from the Eleanora C. U. Alms estate provided the funds for the College of Music to install air conditioning in the Dexter Hall television studios.
Music Hall re-opened in September following three years of repairs and improvements, including redecoration of Springer auditorium and the foyer.
Plans began for a convention hall which would be linked to Music Hall.
WCET, the nation's first licensed educational TV station, debuted from Dexter Hall (third floor of Music Hall).


On May 16th, a joint statement was issued by the presidents of both institutions: The Conservatory of Music and the College of Music would merge. The subject of a merger had been considered for at least 15 years. The new school would be called the College-Conservatory of Music of Cincinnati. The College of Music Had been a big part of Music Hall's history, but the agreement stipulated that the new institution be operated out of the Conservatory's campus in Mt. Auburn.


In the first week of October, the new music director of the 86-member Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra arrived. Prior to accepting this position, Max Rudolf had spent the last eight years as artistic administrator of the Metropolitan Opera.


Topper Club's Egyptian decor gave way to Hawaiian theme, including world's largest color photomural showing Diamond Head above Waikiki.
During the summer, WCET moved out of Dexter Hall to its new home, the old WLWT studios on Mt. Olympus.


Former President Dwight Eisenhower spoke at a GOP fund-raising dinner at Music Hall on Monday, June 12. He and Joseph Hall, president of the Kroger Company, left the dinner briefly to speak at the Robert A. Taft High School graduation, being held in the Music Hall auditorium.


The Corbett Foundation led by J. Ralph Corbett and Patricia Corbett donated rebuilding of backstage area. This was the first of a series of major improvements in Music Hall financed by Corbett donations in following years.
City planners started work on a new convention center.


The President of the Cincinnati May Festival announced in December that the biennial choral tradition will likely become an annual event, starting with the 1967 May Festival. He added there would likely be a 1968 May Festival, and, if the public supports it, ”…a new ‘May Festival every May’ policy will definitely be adopted, leading up to the gala May Festival Centennial ‘blast’ in 1973.” The 1963 and 1965 festivals were cited as tremendously successful.


On October 30, the last boxing show was held in Music Hall Sports Arena. As part of the massive renovation, the arena was dismantled to accommodate a larger backstage area with set design, construction and storage - everything needed to welcome The Cincinnati Opera to its new home in Music Hall!


On May 1, a portion of the dress rehearsal for the May Festival was recorded by the National Education Television Network for air on public television stations nationwide. NET was in Music Hall to record the world premiere of Peter Mennin’s “The Pied Piper of Hamlin,” commissioned by the May Festival two years ago. The public was invited to the dress rehearsal to see the performance free of charge. The recording aired locally on WCET, Channel 48, on June 22, 1969, at 8pm.


Music Hall was added to National Register of Historic Places.
Exterior of building was sandblasted using 400 tons of sand over 60 days.


The Hook & Hastings organ, originally constructed and installed when Music Hall was built, was dismantled during the summer as part of the stage renovation phase of remodeling.


The Corbett Foundation along with the city of Cincinnati financed Phase II of Music Hall renovations. These included a new scenery shop and set storage area for opera and ballet. This set the stage (pun intended) for the Cincinnati Summer Opera's move from the Cincinnati Zoo to Music Hall.
The Cincinnati Opera moves to Music Hall! On June 24, the first of two performances of the New York City Opera's production of Mefistofele, starring internationally-acclaimed opera star Norman Treigle. The production was underwritten by Ralph and Patricia Corbett, to give the Cincinnati Opera - previously known as Cincinnati Summer Opera - an opportunity to enlarge its production fund. In addition to Mefistofele, the Opera presented Die Fledermaus, The Marriage of Figaro, Madama Butterfly,Turandot and La Traviata.
In February, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, started in New York in 1971, spent five days in Cincinnati for performances and a series of lecture-demonstrations at Music Hall. On 7 February, students from 27 elementary schools attended a special performance at Music Hall, and in the following days, members of the company visited several schools to give lecture-demonstrations. DTH appearance sponsored by University of Cincinnati and Seven Hills Neighborhood House.


On May 16, Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously to include Music Hall as a "Listed Property." The Listed Property ordinance provides limited protection for properties of historical or architectural value. The ordinance was approved by council just a month earlier. It ensures that plans for altering or demolishing a listed property must first be review and approved by the city's architectural review board for historic protection districts.
On April 2nd, winds gusting at up to 70 miles an hour inflicted substantial damage to large areas of Music Hall's roof, and water damage occurred in Corbett Tower and in nearby hallways. Repair costs were estimated between $20,000 and $25,000.
The 100th Anniversary of the first May Festival was held with an incredible series of programs that covered classic, romantic and contemporary music periods.
  • Leonard Bernstein was honorary Music Director and he conducted Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.
  • Cincinnati native James Levine, who was principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, conducted Mahler's Eighth Symphony, The Symphony of a Thousand.
  • Robert Shaw, Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony, conducted Krzysztof Penderecki's The Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Luke.
  • Shaw also conducted the Festival's closing program Part I of Handel's Israel in Egypt.
The Tour Guide program starts at Cincinnati Music Hall. Volunteer Guides gave tours of the building and related stories of Music Hall's history.


The Cincinnati Ballet premiered the first production of The Nutcracker, which, over the years, has become a favorite holiday tradition in Cincinnati.


A parking garage was completed to the west of the building—a gift from Corbett Foundation—with a skywalk across Central Parkway that connected into Music Hall.
Music Hall was designated a National Historic Landmark. The U.S. Department of the Interior made the declaration on January 15, 1975; later that year (November 1), a ceremony was held and a plaque was placed on Music Hall's east façade.


Music Hall celebrated its 100th anniversary with Centennial Saengerfest.
The U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative Music Hall historic preservation postcard. The postcard was designed by Cincinnati artist and illustrator Clinton Orlemann and was the second issued in the U.S. Postal Service's Historic Preservation series.


On March 14, 1982, the first annual American Negro Spiritual Festival was held in Cincinnati Music Hall. The Festival was founded by Althea Day, Executive Director of the Human Involvement Project (HIP), as a fundraiser for her organization. HIP was a social-service agency that worked with inner-city, disadvantaged youth and their families. Day's goal was to keep the rich musical heritage of Negro Spirituals in the forefront of the minds of students at historically black colleges. The Festival, believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S., gave choruses an opportunity to compete, win prizes, and perform in a concert of spirituals by the combined choruses before an audience. The 17th and final American Negro spiritual Festival occurred in 1998.


The Critic's Club opened off the main foyer. It was a gift of The Corbett Foundation and the Cincinnati Music Hall Association.


Architectural lighting was installed for exterior of Music Hall, a gift of Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson.


Jean Ries, the Executive Director of the Corbett Foundation; Joyce Van Wye, subscription manager for Cincinnati Opera; philanthropist and arts supporter Louise Dieterle Nippert; and longtime CSO and arts volunteer Norma Petersen met to discuss what could be done to raise money for needed improvements in Music Hall. The group grew, and evolved into The Society for the Preservation of Music Hall (SPMH). (SPMH changed its name in 2019 to Friends of Music Hall.)


Dance Theatre of Harlem performed the premiere of "Creole Giselle" at Music Hall April 18 and 19. While here, the company's Lowell Smith conducted a Master's Dance Class at the Arts Consortium.


Music Hall Association merged to form Cincinnati Arts Association for joint management of Music Hall, Memorial Hall and the new Aronoff Center for the Arts.
On March 6 & 7 Legacy: J. Ralph Corbett premiered. Composer Philip Koplow created the work, which was commissioned by public radio station WGUC-FM, honored the many contributions Mr. Corbett made to the arts and to Cincinnati. Corbett founded the NuTone Company when he created a pleasing-sounding door chime. Koplow featured chimes in this piece, including chimes rung by people in the audience.
The Society for the Preservation of Music Hall* received the 501(c)(3) designation and was formally established as a volunteer support organization to help preserve, improve, promote and provide education for Cincinnati Music Hall. *In 2019, Society for the Preservation of Music Hall changed its name to Friends of Music Hall.
The Corbett Foundation replaced seating in Springer Auditorium of Music Hall.


The Corbett Foundation financed refurbishing of Corbett Tower.


President Bill Clinton spoke at Music Hall. President Clinton, then in the midst of a re-election campaign, was endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police for his longtime support of law enforcement.


American Classical Music Hall of Fame installed inaugural laureates in gala at Music Hall, commemorating 120 years of classical music tradition in this historic building.
Music Hall Ballroom (originally the old Topper Club) enjoyed major transformation into an elegant state-of-the-art, multi-purpose ballroom and meeting facility.


The Music Hall Timeline, created with a donation provided to Friends of Music Hall (known then as Society for the Preservation of Music Hall) by Louise Dieterle Nippert, was installed in a west corridor of Music Hall.


For the first time since Music Hall was built in 1878, a passenger elevator was installed! A $600,000 gift from the Corbett Foundation and announced by the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall (SPMH) made the work possible. Until this time, individuals in wheelchairs or with mobility issues used a ramp in front of the building, but were confined to the first floor.
In addition, the organization funded renovations to the conductor's suite and the Green Room.


The 125th Anniversary of Cincinnati's historic Music Hall was celebrated in grand style.
In the north wing, construction began on the new headquarters for the Cincinnati Opera. This necessitated moving the Cincinnati Arts Association's Music Hall staff to offices on the second floor of the south wing.


In October, the Cincinnati Opera moved into the its new headquarters, the Corbett Opera Center.


On January 13, the Corbett Opera Center was officially dedicated. The Center was named for long-time Cincinnati arts patrons J. Ralph and Patricia Corbett. The Corbett Foundation provided a $1.5 million lead grant for the project, as did the City of Cincinnati.
On May 25, the documentary Music Hall: Cincinnati Finds Its Voice premieres on CET, public television. The 90-minute program was conceived and funded by the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall (now Friends of Music Hall), and produced by CET. The production was created in cooperation with the Cincinnati Museum Center's Historical Society Library. The documentary was awarded a regional Emmy and was a finalist for a Post-Corbett Award.


Following several years of effort on the part of Society for the Preservation of Music Hall (now Friends of Music Hall) president Norma Petersen, it was announced that the Mighty Wurlitzer organ would be refurbished and installed in Music Hall's Ballroom by Ronald F. Wehmeier Organ Services. The theatre organ was originally created for Cincinnati's Albee Theatre and installed there in 1929, just before the release of the first "talkie" motion picture (October 1927). Read about the history of this Mighty Wurlitzer Organ and see photos from the organ's installation. The Wurlitzer organ joined a number of pieces from the Albee that decorated the ballroom.


The Albee Mighty Wurlitzer Organ Dedication was dedicated in a standing-room-only concert on Saturday, November 28th.


The Music Hall Revitalization Committee was formed to oversee needed structural improvements to Music Hall. The design architect was chosen and a fundraising consulting and management firm hired.


The Music Hall Revitalization Committee held public sessions on the plan to renovate Music Hall. which then was slated to begin in spring of 2013. Public meetings were held in January in which hundreds voice their disapproval of the plans, in particular those that called for the removal of the chandelier from the auditorium and reduced seating.
Cincinnati icon and philanthropist Louise Nippert died just shy of her 101st birthday. Mrs. Nippert was devoted to the arts and was a generous supporter of music and Music Hall in Cincinnati. She was also one of the initial Trustees of SPMH (now known as Friends of Music Hall.)
President Barack Obama attended the first town hall meeting of the 2012 campaign season, held in the Music Hall Ballroom.
In December, the City of Cincinnati and the Music Hall Revitalization Company (MHRC) reached an agreement on a lease of the building, with an eye to easing the work needed to fund renovation of the structure. Under the agreement, MHRC leased the building for 75 years, and pay all operating and maintenance expenses.


The first LumenoCity event was held in renovated Washington Park, on August 3 and 4, and Louis Langrée was introduced as the new music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The event, which also featured the Cincinnati Pops led by John Morris Russell, was created by Cincinnati-based Brave Berlin, featured a specially-designed lightshow on the facade of Music Hall and is an overwhelming success, drawing 35,000 people.
The Music Hall Revitalization Company announced it will partner with 3CDC (Cincinnati Center City Development Company) for the renovation work on Music Hall, with 3CDC acting as project manager.
A revised timeline for the revitalization was developed, with work targeted to start in June 2016.


In June, the National Trust for Historic Preservation added Music Hall to its list of America's 11 most endangered historic places.
Hamilton County Commissioners decided that funding for Music Hall's revitalization will not be included in a proposed "Icon Tax" levy.
The MHRC redoubled its efforts to find new funding for the project.
The year closed out with good news, as the State of Ohio awarded Music Hall with a one-time historic tax credit totaling $25 million.


Fundraising for the revitalization of Music Hall is given a huge boost, with a $10 million gift from the Lindner family.
Phase I structural work is completed over the summer.
A new design team and an acoustics firm were announced for the project, which was then estimated to run $129 million. The design team was comprised of two architectural firms: Martinez + Johnson Architecture, a Washington, DC, firm, and Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel, Pittsburgh. Messer Construction was hired as construction manager.
Music Hall Resident Companies—Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, May Festival, Cincinnati Opera, Music Hall management and Friends of Music Hall staff packed up everything in order to vacate Music Hall by the end of the year. The task for the CSO includes packed up the 140-year-old orchestra library and moved all music to a temporary home at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County's main brand downtown.


Performances continued in Music Hall's Springer Auditorium through May. Meanwhile construction work occurred during the day.
In January, the Friends of Music Hall (formerly SPMH) Board of Directors voted to gift the renovation campaign with $3 million, made possible by the Corbett Foundation. The Music Hall Revitalization Project is now estimated to cost $135 million.
In February, the design concept for a revitalized Music Hall was publicly revealed.
In March, work under the stage uncovered skeletons. The remains were identified as human, and respectfully moved to a final resting place in Spring Grove Cemetery, along with many bones uncovered during previous construction work.
In May, the final "pre-construction" Mighty Wurlitzer Concert was held in the ballroom.
After the final May Festival performance on Saturday, May 28, Music Hall was officially closed for renovation. A work session was held Sunday, May 29, to remove hundreds of seats donated to the Sorg Opera House in Middletown.
At the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Presrvation of Music Hall (now Friends of Music Hall) on September 13, which was held off-site for the first time the organization's history, Stephen Leeper, 3CDC's President and Chief Executive Officer, detailed for members the work that was underway. Leeper also detailed expected revisions in design for Corbett Tower, the specific beneficiary of the organization's donation toward Music Hall's renovation.


Periodic "hard-hat tours" are conducted for employees of Resident Companies. These tours were halted at the end of May, in order to ensure a "wow" element when Music Hall re-opens.
By mid-year, Friends of Music Hall (then SPMH) estimated the organization's contribution to the revitalization of Music Hall had grown to over $5 million! Following the opening, the organization determined it will continue to work to repair or replace architectural details that have been lost or removed over the years, in order to restore Music Hall's façade to its original design.
ArtsWave received a grant to hold a celebration for the re-opening of Music Hall. Included in the day-long activities:
  • an open house at Music Hall with performances in different areas;
  • events at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's new Otto M. Budig Theater, which is a block south of Music Hall;
  • events at next door neighbor Memorial Hall, which reopened earlier in the year after extensive renovations; and Washington Park.
Friday, October 6, at 10am - a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opened Music Hall. Saturday, October 7, at 10am - the doors opened to the public for an open house event at Music Hall.


Early this year, the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall started work on a strategic plan to guide the organization into the future. SPMH worked with board member and strategist Brett Stover to identify immediate and long-term goals. As Music Hall has updated its look through the revitalization, SPMH hired Kolar Design to assist in the process of positioning the organization as an approachable entity deeply committed to Cincinnati Music Hall, to nurturing the next generation of passionate, engaged advocates for Music Hall and to refresh the organization's brand. Read the story of SPMH's evolution into Friends of Music Hall.


After vetting organizational changes with stakeholders, both within Music Hall and in the community, on September 16 at the Annual Meeting, the organization that began as SPMH - Society for the Preservation of Music Hall formally announced its new name: Friends of Music Hall. While the name and overall "look" of the organization has evolved, our mission and vision remain and were actually strengthened through the outcomes of strategic planning.


A multi-year preservation project comes to fruition in June with the installation of restored finials on the gables of Cincinnati Music Hall, as well as replacing the three missing spikes on the lyre which sits in the center of the third floor windows of Corbett Auditorium. Check out these important Gothic symbols! You can see them, primarily on the Elm St. facade - with two on the west side of the building. Close-up photos, along with a description of the project, is in our blog "The Finial Restoration Project by Friends of Music Hall."
At the Friends of Music Hall annual meeting, the board of directors announced a new volunteer position of "Historian" had been created to assist the organization in fulfilling its mission, and the first person to hold that title is former board member and historian-preservationist Thea Tjepkema. Tjepkema's extensive knowledge of Music Hall, along with her research skills and boundless enthusiasm, led the organization to underwrite key restoration projects, both during and after the revitalization in 2016-2017, most recently the restoration of finials on Music Hall's gables.