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Cohoes Music Hall Announces Grand Re-Opening

Cohoes Music Hall

The Palace Performing Arts Center and the City of Cohoes today announced new programming and initiatives at the Cohoes Music Hall — part of the grand reopening of a venue that dates to 1874.

Back in March, Albany’s Palace Theatre took the reins of management at the Cohoes Music Hall. For the next three years, the Palace will oversee the operation and decide which events will play at the venue.  "We're really excited to welcome the Music Hall into the Palace family."

Palace Executive Director Holly Brown says the Hall is just coming under the Palace's wing. "There are things that we're still working on and putting in place. Obviously, we wanna replicate a lot of the systems that we have in place here at the Palace over at the Music Hall. We have systems here that work very well, so we don't wanna reinvent the wheel but we do need to tailor those systems for that beautiful space. We'll be hiring a general manager to manage the theater in the coming weeks, and we will have a lot of shared services between the Palace Theatre and Cohoes Music Hall, and a lot of areas including box office, marketing, and then of course our event night staff, operations, security, concessions, so it's gonna be a great partnership.""

Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse says the Hall’s partnership with the Palace is a result of groundwork done by his uncle, former Cohoes Mayor George Primeau, who recently died.  "Today was really an exciting but sad moment for me, because if not for his love for the Music Hall and having the courage to invest money in it, just before he decided he wasn't going to make a run for office, we wouldn't be talking about the Music Hall today. It was his energy and his staff that went over there and made the Music Hall what it was when Holly Brown walked in and said 'Wow, this is gorgeous, I think we should become partners.'"

Brown was impressed with renovations the city made at the theater, including... "...a new sound sytem, new curtains, some other things, and they've done a beautiful job restoring the space. So the city does own the building. They continue to own the building and they are hiring us as the management company to really run the facility and handle the programming there."

Morse added,  "As of today we announced a whole host of shows that will start in September, and we're booked right up until May of 2017. We have all types of different acts coming to the Music Hall, we have matinee movies for our senior population, just like the Palace has movie nights in Albany, we'll have them in Cohoes, and then a whole host of shows. So it's really exciting to see what was a concept just five six months ago turn into the true reality, the true economic engine we knew that the Palace could help generate here in Cohoes."

About Cohoes Music Hall

Opened in 1874, the Cohoes Music Hall was built by James Maston, a newspaper publisher, and his partner William Acheson, a textile manufacturer. The building was designed by the architectural firm Nichols and Halcott of Albany and built for $60,000. The first floor featured a post office and retail stores; the second floor held eight offices, a storage room and a ticket office; and the theater was placed on the third floor. The venue has featured many luminaries, including Buffalo Bill Cody, John Philip Sousa, Colonel Tom Thumb, Jimmy Durante and Sarah Bernhardt, amongst others. In 1905, the National Bank of Cohoes took over ownership of the building and closed the Music Hall.

The theater remained closed until the City of Cohoes purchased the building in 1969 for $1. After a full renovation, Cohoes Music Hall was restored to its 19thcentury magnificence and reopened in 1974. Cohoes Music Hall remains a venue for dramatic and musical performances. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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