GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — With the recent announcement that the Ariel Opera House could anticipate $400,000 in funding from Ohio’s capital bill, the performing arts centre is looking to potentially update its heating, cooling and ventilation systems.
The Ariel Opera House, also known as the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre, received similar funding in 2016 where it then rehabilitated bathroom facilities, its office, carpeting and signage.
“The big thing is HVAC,” said the organization’s executive director, Lora Snow. “The auditorium is on equipment we put in back in (the early 1990s), so they’re due for replacement.”
The director said that one of the few positives of the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 was that heating, cooling and ventilation system industries were considering newer technology in air movement to battle pathogens.
“This gives us the opportunity to think and plan and do it right,” said Snow. “This is a big thing.”
Snow noted the organization is also looking into improving its stage lighting with LED fixtures as they were “better for the environment, pocketbook and energy efficient.” She hopes to then be able to remove the boom lighting erected on the front of the auditorium stage. Booms are often recognized as a scaffold pole where sound or lighting equipment is attached.
The director said the last time the auditorium had any major lighting work was also in the early 1990s.
“The HVAC system will take up the majority of the money though,” said Snow. “We’ve 25,000 square feet and that’s a lot of space to heat and cool.”
Snow noted it wasn’t uncommon for many outside the community to come and see The Ohio Valley Symphony perform in the Ariel Opera House and that resulted in money for other businesses as visitors to the area would spend money on food or lodging.
“We’re going to show the Roaring Twenties this fall and feature music from the (1920s). Old songs, if you will, but in brand new arrangements by Tim Berens who is the principal arranger of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra,” said Snow.
“Rhapsody in Blue” will be a featured song at the event which was originally premiered in 1924.
“We’ll also be featuring some songs from a local songwriter, Isham Jones,” said Snow.
Jones was born in Coalton, Ohio and was noted for being a bandleader of one of the most popular dance bands in the 1920s and 1930s.
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Dean Wright is a freelance writer and former reporter for Ohio Valley Publishing.