Terre Haute Tribune Star Logo

June 17, 1988
Friday (Specials)

BOWC squelches rumors: Hall is open

    When members of the Banks of the Wabash Chorus bought the Village Cinema in August 1986, members planned to use it as their permanent rehearsal and performance hall. By the summer of 1987, the chorus moved in although renovations were not completed. Members intended to continue doing most of the work themselves. Then came the rumors. Had the chorus bitten off more than it could chew? If so, would the theater be lost? With the renovations now completed, the BOWC wants to squelch any more rumors.

    Harmony Hall is finished and open for business. And the group is in no financial danger. The Hall's transformation from a movie theater to concert hall has been startling. The 358 seat theater, decorated in the latest chic colors, has new flowered carpet, new paint and trim and refurbished seats; it's original stylish sidewall lights were restored; it has newly constructed stage, and the lobby greets visitors with drawings and photos of barbershoppers Harmony Hall is heated and air conditioned, has basic lighting and a basic public address system.

    "We still have to renovate the marquee, make dressing rooms backstage and redo the mortar in the front bricks," BOWC member Donn Jones said.

    Financially the BOWC is solvent, but there's still a long way to go to pay off the original $35,000 loan signed for by six members, plus meet other expenses and maintain the building. The chorus has probably doubled the value of the building with investments totaling more that $48,000, said member Norm Trench. Treasurer Jeff Griggs said though the BOWC is currently solvent, "We still need money to meet our financial obligations without any problems."

    The chorus's earning power lies in its concerts, and two concerts are planned this summer. There is also currently a campaign to sell seats in the hall to local sponsors. But Jones says, "the greatest earning potential lies in renting the theater to outside organization." Basic rental prices are $150 for the first four hours and $100 for each additional hour hour block. A refundable $100 damage and cleaning deposit has been established. Other arrangements can be made for other rates, Jones said.

-- Judy Hazlett