Thursday, August 16, 2007


There has been interesting debate in Rockport over "our" new performance venue. The old "Haskin's block" has been purchased by the Rockport Chamber Music Festival. The original plans of a combination of restoration and renovation have been scrapped. Now we find out that the old building will be demolished and a replacement structure erected in it's place. I wonder what happened to this building being in the historic district. I'll not debate the fact the the new building will have a considerably larger footprint and will also rise to new heights in the back, from one story to three, blocking the eastward water view for many residents.

My big problems with the new music hall are twofold. Number one is...

Where on earth do they plan to park the cars? We haven't enough space for residents and tourists as things are and the only current option (primarily for tourists who can't find a spot to park in town) is to park at the transfer station lot (read - the dump) and pay one dollar to ride the bus, disguised as a quaint trolley. So, tell me, are we to expect that the paying patrons of the Rockport Chamber Music Festival events, in their best evening attire, will be parking at the dump?

Number two problem for me is...

The aesthetics of the building. Yes, the new building will, in many ways, mimic the original Haskin's building. However, the architects have dressed up the French Second Empire style for the new structure rather than seeing the wisdom of the original builders in dressing it down for a small New England town. Here's a photo of the old Haskin's block built c. 1862.

And here's the architect's rendering for the new building. To me, this new design is just too gussied up for our town. A bit too painted and speaks more of "Nawlins" than Rockport. Wiping some of the extra makeup off would leave a gorgeous facade, still retaining that French Second Empire feel, and befit the Rockport Chamber Music Festival AND Rockport.

On a related topic. I found an interesting letter to the editor in today's GDT. The writer's intention was to draw attention to the lack of affordable venues for local artist's performances. I'm not copying the entire letter here. A lovely surprise I found nestled in the middle I have copied in total! (Words in parenthesis are mine)

Concert venue concern

To the editor:
I gave a concert on Friday, July 13, at the Rockport Community House.......

In the Rockport Community House, the piano was not tuned, and the owner called a technician to fix two keys that were stuck and would not play. This made it impossible to play that piano the way it was supposed to sound. She (the owner) did get them fixed but was unable to afford any other tuning or repairing expenses on the piano. The technician voluntarily repaired it, pro bono! Thank God she (the technician) was able to do that!.........

Bonnie Barish

Guess who that technician was?

Are you still wondering?


And while the text was a little confusing, and my name was not specifically mentioned, I *am* the only SHE piano technician listed in our phone book.

YAY, YAY, YAY, I love whatever good, free publicity/advertising that I get.


dickiebo said...

You certainly deserved a 'Mention in Dispatches' Deb, but surely they could have published your name! Teach you to argue with the might of the newspaper empire!
New building could be worse. Have to ask Alice.

deb said...

Hadn't thought that they would purposely delete me! Truly, I think the pianist just didn't ask for or remember my name. Doesn't matter, I'll take each tiny bit.

Yes, could be *lots* worse, but I think it should be made better from the start. Just a tad less showy.

Also, the comparison of an old B&W to the colorful illustration is difficult. I am thinking, though, that there is just too much variety in window style and filigree for this one building.

Where *is* Alice when you need her?

Hmmm, that sounds like "there's never a cop around when you need one."

mary said...

Agree with you about the proposed changes to the building. And the shuttle from the town parking only works in the summer, right? So will the building be used all year long and if so, good question, where do they park.

How gracious of you to take care of the piano for the pianist's gig. Somewhere along the way, our world has become self centered and a few other things. Your generosity should serve to remind folks that not everyone does everything only for the almighty dollar. Kudos to you, Deb.

deb said...

Thanks, Mary. I've always had a difficult time drawing a line concerning being paid for a professional service and the desire to help out gratis. There are times when I wish I didn't have to worry about how much money I charge for a job due to having bills to pay, etc. So...I try to do what little extras I can, when I can.

Regarding the Community House piano (needs far more work than will ever be done at it's present home). The caller, on Wednesday, said "two sticking keys". I asked , "tune or not?" No tuning. Needed for performance on Friday night. I quoted her a discounted service call charge..really minimal and ran down there on Friday morning. Spent a half hour hauling an extremely heavy grand piano action out of the piano, explored to find a "seed bead" (teeny bead as in American Indian beading) wedged between the two keys. Put all back together and made the mistake of playing the piano. Pedal lyre was too springy as the supports had come loose and therefore the dampers were not lifting far enough off the strings (I know...technical talk). I asked if I could stay a bit longer to fix it, no additional charge.

dickiebo said...

Deb. Sorry pal. Link now fixed. Did u spot the error? I just had an 'r' instead of a 't' in blogspot!
BTW; Don't know about you, but the link - as was - took me to a porn page. Barbara will never believe that!!!!! Just keep me fingers crossed that she doesn't spot it!