Weekly Feature

2018-04-11 / Letters to the Editor

Town music hall would be an asset

If and when the Town of Amherst gets ownership of the former Westwood Country Club, I suggest serious consideration be given to adding a music hall to the existing clubhouse.

Why a new music hall?

Presently, there is no music hall within at least 100 miles that has an orchestra pit that is deep enough to hide an orchestra and give the singers a chance to be heard, and large enough to contain a 40-piece orchestra.

Local stages are plagued with limited backstage facilities, making scenery and other aspects of stagecraft very difficult.

The acoustics of the old movie houses and school auditoriums presently in use leave a lot to be desired. Need we discuss some of the audience needs, such as parking, restrooms lobby space, comfortable seating?

Local groups that present concerts also would benefit from better facilities. The Amherst Symphony, for instance, rehearses in a school with aging facilities, an uncomfortable stage with acoustic problems, and parking problems for the audience.

And as with all other schools, availability of the stage is limited by holidays and of course use by school organizations.

All community music groups — and there are several that rehearse and perform in the Town of Amherst, face similar problems.

I suggest that if the Town of Amherst were to acquire Westwood, it could build a concert hall attached to the present clubhouse that would have the orchestra pit for opera and musical theater, and a stage also appropriate for concert use. A prototype would be Fischer Hall at Bard College.

The clubhouse could serve as a lobby, additional rehearsal space, hospitality venue and office space. Parking would be conveniently available.

With the many groups in the community that present musical theater and concerts, such a facility would be used heavily. And it would make the Town of Amherst a major cultural center with all the attendant economic benefits.

William Rich
Tristan Lane

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