SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

February 7, 2014

Our view: A grand restoration

Fans of the arts and architecture on the North Shore have something to cheer in this weekend’s re-opening of the Ames Memorial Hall at Salem YMCA.

Built in 1896 as a concert and lecture hall, the space fell into disrepair after being converted into a gym in the 1970s.

A fundraising campaign led by former Salem State President Nancy Harrington and local businessman David Ives brought in $1.1 million. The hall now has an expanded stage and backstage, a restored balcony and new lighting and sound systems. The building is now handicapped accessible and, for those steamy summer nights, air-conditioned.

The state-of-the-art improvements were accompanied by a respect for the building’s history. Plaster moldings and decorative details were restored rather than replaced, and the marble staircase and original stained-glass windows have been refurbished.

“There was a lot of attention to history. … We restored as much history as we could,” Chris Lovasco, COO at the YMCA of the North Shore told reporter Neil H. Dempsey.

The hall will be home to the Y Theatre Company, which has served 600 to 700 children since its founding in 2008.

“It’s a wonderful space for kids to perform, but also it’s a center for arts for the entire community,” Lovasco said.

The work will be unveiled tonight with a performance by opera star Marquita Lister. Tomorrow, the center will host performances by the Y Theatre Company, the Salem Theatre Company and the Boston Ballet, among others.

It’s a fitting way to celebrate the return to prominence of one of the city’s gems.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion

AP Video
Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate
Helium