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Orchestra Hall – A Centennial Celebration

DPTV Documentaries

Part IV: Darkness and Light

Aired: 2019-10-22 9:49

The fourth chapter of the Orchestra Hall story is one of passion, action, and heroism.

orchestra hall Paradise Theatre Ellington ladder lady copy.jpg Looking at Orchestra Hall on Woodward Avenue today, it’s unbelievable to think that such an iconic fixture of the Arts could be built in a matter of months. There have been many changes since Orchestra Hall’s opening night on Oct. 23, 1919. Times of peace. Times of war. Times of change in the city around it. Music filling the perfectly engineered acoustical masterpiece has ebbed and flowed, changed direction and even, for a time, was silenced.

It has been home to the fourth oldest symphony orchestra in North America as well as the most important venue for African American musical entertainment in Detroit. Over the decades, Orchestra Hall has welcomed some of the greatest performers in history, from Richard Strauss, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Anna Pavlova to Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong. It has been adorned with accolades and attention but then left to decay, saved at the last minute from a wrecking ball’s destruction. Yet, despite a storied past, its impeccable clarity and charm remain today, some 100 years later.

Orchestra Hall 1919 photo copy.jpgOrchestra Hall – A Centennial Celebration will serialize the story of Orchestra Hall and tell it across six 7-8-minute “webisodes” that will be distributed every week across DPTV’s broadcast and social media platforms, including WRCJ 90.9FM, beginning in October 2019 to coincide with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s centennial efforts. This will culminate in a 90-minute pledge event to air on Detroit Public Television December 2, 2019.

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