Piano required to help bring a theater back to life

Posted by: Thomas Lawrence Toscano

Piano required to help bring a theater back to life - 10/21/08 10:50 PM

Dear Piano Forum members,

I am new to this forum and it's my first posting. I come to you with a great deal of enthusiasm, since I am a composer/conductor, who is at the moment running his own small opera company. We just bought a small baby grand, Jacob Doll, which is in fair shape. We bought it principally as a rehearsal piano. You see, a sort of miracle has happened. Over the labor day weekend I was brought to a buidling here in WIlliamsburg, Brooklyn, a building which I always thought was a school. In fact , there had been a school housed in this building for a long time but, the building was , in fact, not a school building at all. When I was guided into the building by the priest, (this building is owned by a parish, St. Peter and Paul's to be exact,) what did I find on the 2nd floor but, a 600 seat theater, with a balcony, 50 foot proscenium arch , raked , stage. with about 80 feet of flyspace. The theater has not been used, as a theater for well over 60 years. maybe even 80 years no on knows. The writer, Henry Miller, went to high school in this building. A very small school , it had to be , since it only has 11 classrooms. The theater easily takes up about 2/3rds of the building. My opera company, OperaOggiNY, is bringing this theater back to life, with performances on Nov. 6, 7th and 8th of this month. There are many things which require attention. As I said at the top, we have already bought a piano, and donated it to the theater. As a rehearsal piano. BUt, it cannot be used as a performance piano. We need to find a dealer, who will allow us the use of a fine grand, nothing too big is required, for our performances and a few rehearsals of course, of the opera we are performing. (L'Oracolo by Leoni) For further info please see this press release: www.operaogginy.com/PressTheater.pdf

I started a search online since I've done most of my searching here. I found the first piano afterall online. I come to you, because obviously you have more knowledge and hopefully, more connections than I do. I know I'm asking alot, The reason I am asking is for 2 reasons. We are a young opera company. We take our funds from the tuition that the singers pay for each production. We have already spent about 600 on the Jacob that we bought for purchase and moving expenses. Quite a reasonable affair all in all. But, there are many other expenses indeed. And many repairs that have to take place ( we even bought 40 bulbs, fluorescent of course, for the stage itself - work lights there is no actual theatrical lighting left!). The parish is quite a poor one and has this theater, and knows not what to do with it. When I found it, I sprang into action, but, again, I'm only one person and we are a small company. I will continue to develop this theater but, at the moment , our most important step are these performances. We are alerting the entire neighborhood. It is a wonderful hall, for opera, recitals, chamber music, chamber orchestra, choirs etc. In fact, we will do a Messiah on December 14th. If anyone has any suggestions as to whom I might contact, any connections so that I our request might be considered quickly, I would greatly appreciate it. Please visit our website. www.operaogginy.com as well as mine, www.thomaslawrencetoscano.com, to verify my veracity. Also, please feel free to look at the theater, www.operaogginy.com/T1.JPG, through T12.JPG. The pictures www.operaogginy.com/T11.JPG and www.operaogginy.com/T12.JPG are actually the original pictures of the theater from an 1898 dedication book . The theater was built in 1897 and donated to the parish by the McCaddin family. Hence it's name, Henry McCaddin Memorial. ON November 6 , we will officially reopen the McCaddin Memorial Theater, and hopefully will restore it to its original splendor. This time, with greater success at making it a viable theater. Even here in NYC, this is a rare occurence and we are all very excited. Please forgive me if this has been too long, but, I wanted to share the story with all of you. And, therefore merit your attention and possible help.

Thanks for listening, Thomas
Posted by: apple*

Re: Piano required to help bring a theater back to life - 10/21/08 11:05 PM

if i were rich i would donate a piano to you. you deserve luck.. What a find the theater was.

ask and you shall receive

hopefully. good luck to you.
Posted by: jodi

Re: Piano required to help bring a theater back to life - 10/21/08 11:25 PM

Best of luck. Hope someone here is able to help you. Your opera website is VERY cool!

\:\) Jodi
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Piano required to help bring a theater back to life - 10/22/08 08:35 AM

I'd like to give you a big hug. Very best of luck!
Posted by: U S A P T

Re: Piano required to help bring a theater back to life - 10/22/08 09:13 AM

you should think about a theatre organ! <----link
Posted by: Steve Chandler

Re: Piano required to help bring a theater back to life - 10/22/08 11:04 AM

Here are some thoughts you may find useful.

If you're a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization then any dealer could loan you a piano and take a tax deduction in lieu of rent. So if you're a qualified nonprofit you would do well to start asking.

Here's where the rubber meets the road, loaning a piano for a tax deduction can be justified as a business decision (especially if you're willing to express your appreciation publicly at the performances). But moving the piano is going to cost somebody something. You should be willing to pick up the moving expenses both ways, but that won't be cheap. You might start by asking which piano moving companies have the best reputation, then calling those that pass muster and asking what they charge and if they'd offer a nonprofit a discount or even do it as a donation (can't hurt to ask). Just be sure to deal with a piano moving company not just a mover, there's a difference.

Good luck, it sounds like a great project.

And if you're not a nonprofit, you should be.
Posted by: Thomas Lawrence Toscano

Re: Piano required to help bring a theater back to life - 10/23/08 08:46 AM

Thanks for all your encouragment and advice. We are not non-profit but, the church is. I will start from there. All the best. T