The fourth West Michigan venue showcased in the “Comeback Road” video series is a historic one that’s survived for 137 years. But it’s never experienced a year quite like 2020.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part four of the “Comeback Road” video series on the plight of West Michigan concert venues amid COVID-19. Today, filmmakers Michael Whitenack, David Darling and Kari Cohen spotlight St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids. Scroll down to watch the video.
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Through its illustrious, 137-year history, St. Cecilia Music Center has survived and thrived through two World Wars, the Spanish flu, the Great Depression and more.
But it has never experienced a shutdown and crisis quite like the calamity sparked by the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.
With chamber music, jazz and folk concerts in St. Cecilia’s Royce Auditorium canceled for the year and music education programs scuttled, the organization founded in 1883 by nine Grand Rapids women has lost all its usual revenue from ticket sales, building rentals and tuition fees.
But Cathy Holbrook, St. Cecilia’s executive and artistic director, remains unshaken – confident that this venue committed to “great music and music education” will eventually rise again.
“We’ll make it through,” Holbrook insists in today’s edition of the “Comeback Road” video series spotlighting the plight of West Michigan venues shuttered by COVID.
“The fact that St. Cecilia has been around that long is a testament to the Grand Rapids community. It means that people around us have cared about this organization and care about the arts in Grand Rapids and want to support it, and make sure that it continues.”
Of course, just when St. Cecilia (which depends on donations and sponsorships for half of its income) can reopen remains uncertain due to the persistent pandemic which has kept the 630-seat Royce Auditorium silent. And even when it does open its doors, there are no guarantees fans will return in droves.
“We’re still waiting and I do understand that we probably can’t be at full capacity the way we were in February until we have a vaccine … and it could be awhile,” Holbrook said. She encouraged the community to consider donating to St. Cecilia, which has been hosting online, live-stream concerts during the shutdown.
Still, hopefulness reigns.
“There’s always been live music,” Holbrook said. “It’s always survived everything that happens. It will survive this.”
VIDEO: ‘Comeback Road’ – St. Cecilia Music Center
To view other “Comeback Road” videos spotlighting The Intersection, The Pyramid Scheme and Tip Top Deluxe: https://localspins.com/?s=comeback+road+video
To donate to St. Cecilia Music Center: http://scmc-online.org/support/
To assist the National Independent Venue Association and show support for legislation to assist concert venues nationally: https://www.saveourstages.com/
To support Michigan music venues seeking state assistance: https://www.savemistages.com/
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