This time it won't be the same old song and dance, if Johnstown Historical Society's leadership has its way.
This time it won’t be the same old song and dance, if Johnstown Historical Society’s leadership has its way.
Last year, the historical society sponsored monthly entertainment at Johnstown’s Opera House to help cover upkeep costs. Although attendance didn’t always match expectations, they’re trying again this year and the historical society leadership is trying to get the word out — and boost ticket sales.
“We’re trying again,” said society president Bob Marks, who hopes to fill as many of the Opera House’s 240 seats as possible with $10 per person admission. “The Opera House, Your Entertainment Series” (or OH, YES) 2011-12 season began Sept. 17 with Hal Walker. Shows are staged the third Saturday of every month at 7 p.m.
Scheduled for the rest of the season are: October, Magic by Steven Knight; November, Barbershop Combo featuring Jim Dumbauld; December, Christmas musical featuring the Johnstown-Northridge High School Choir; January, Concert of Love Songs with Stephanie Henkle; February, Ohio University A Cappella Group; March, comedy night with Mary Miller and Dan Swartout; and April, female vocal trio Raison D’Etre.
Marvin Block, vice president of the historical society, agreed that last season’s attendance could’ve been better.
“It’s been an uphill battle to keep people coming in,” he said. But, he said, the historical society can afford this season and its members are excited about giving a concert series another try.
Right now, Block said, the historical society doesn’t have plans for the revenue the concerts may generate beyond maintenance of the Opera House. He noted that the historical society just added a lift chair to the Opera House with assistance from the Mary E. Babcock Foundation.
Block explained that the Monroe Township Trustees actually own the Opera House and the historical society makes contributions toward building maintenance. The Johnstown Historical Society has a museum and offices on the Opera House/Town Hall’s first floor; the Opera House resides in the same building with the Johnstown Town Hall.
According to the Downtown Johnstown, Inc. website, the Opera House’s raised stage once hosted lectures, plays, musical revivals, political rallies, the unforgettable medicine shows and vaudeville acts, as well as high school graduation ceremonies. The entire Opera House/Town Hall structure is on the National Register of Historic Buildings and the Johnstown Opera House is one of five remaining in Ohio.
Additionally, the society is offering a free concert outside the Opera House in Bigelow Park at 2 p.m. today (Sunday, Oct. 2) featuring “Swing’s the Thing” big band in celebration of the Mary E. Babcock Foundation’s 25th year.
“Bring a lawn chair,” Block said.