The Sorg Opera House, located in downtown Middletown, has started its new capital campaign. The campaign seeks financial support to continue to resurrect the historic landmark to its full potential. The Sorg Board of Directors predicts the total restoration of the entire building will end up costing somewhere between $8- $17 million.
“The Sorg Opera House still stands because of the dedicated people in the community,” said volunteer and Sorg Board of Directors member Denise Hamet.
With the help of the community, Sorg Opera House will be restored as a lasting historical landmark and impressive music venue. The refurbishment will help revitalize the surrounding downtown area as well by attracting tourists and thus increasing spending rates. The community also has the opportunity to utilize this performing arts location for a wide variety of groups as well as local volunteers.
The Sorg Opera House was designed by prominent Cincinnati architect, Samuel Hannaford, and financed by a local industrialist, philanthropist, and member of the United States House of Representatives, Paul Sorg.
In October of 2012, the Sorg Opera House’s restoration journey began when the Sorg Opera Revitalization Group purchased the building. The nonprofit group then solicited volunteer support to clean out and stabilize the structure. Since then, multiple restoration goals have already been achieved. These beginning achievements including repairing roofing and drainage systems, acquiring nonprofit status, hiring Glaserworks Architectural through a Duke Energy Foundation grant, and installing a donation of 985 Cincinnati Music Hall seats. Later improvements include restoring bathrooms through the Nippert Foundation grant, repairing fire escape doors and sprinkler systems, and installing HVAC with the help of a state capital grant.
The opera house had its first soft re-opening to host entertainment in 2017. As the building continues to improve, Denise Hamet and a dedicated team of volunteers work together to host the shows. As a volunteer in the concession booth, Ms. Hamet has the opportunity to interact with audience members. Through her interactions with audience members, Hamet sees the direct positive impact that the opera house’s magnificent architecture and exposure to cultural arts have on the community.
“I hear many individuals in the audience comment that this is their first trip to the city. They come for the music and the venue, and while they are there, they get to know the town. We hope first time and returning visitors will spread the good word of a downtown revitalizing,” said Hamet.
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