The Harrington Opera House Society "Annual Reports" were presented January 16, 2017 as part of the monthly business meeting at 7 pm in The Art Room of the Harrington Opera House.
Art & Music Committee
Promotion & Advertising Committee
Nominations & Election of Board Officers
President's Report for 2016
The year 2016 is now behind us and 2017 lays before us. As I reflect on the previous 12 months, my thoughts go back 25 years ago this week when a group from Harrington and Davenport met to discuss the possibility of restoring the Harrington Opera House. The roof was gone, rooms were in a shamble and there was a 3 foot snow drift in the auditorium. Some shook their heads and said “impossible”. Others had a dream, and with the help of Ms. Douglas Rudkoff, the building was purchased for $1.00 and our work began.
We have had our ups and downs, but we have done something that is very rare in this day and age. We have never had a paid staff, we have never paid our members to do any work, and we were not afraid of hard work.
Of the in-kind hours I have been able to record, over 15,000 hours of sweat and hard work brings us to where we are today. Donations of items valued at over $90,000 have been given as in-kind items. Professional groups have donated over $84,000 in their labor.
The actual cash spent on the building is over $720,000.00 of which $347,290.00 has been grants. The rest came from donations, events, memorials and memberships.
For every step back, we went two steps forward. And we did have some setbacks, but we never gave up. It is truly a labor of love for this wonderful historic structure that holds so much history in our small town. Built in 1904, what events it has seen. Always, she was the strong two story building on the corner. She saw two World Wars and several smaller ones, only to watch our soldiers leave and some not come back. Events were brought to the Harrington Opera House during The Great Depression that brought joy during the broken economy. Laughter made it all bearable. And so the building stood and it was the one stabilizing factor in a community torn by war and strife.
Who else could take $1.00 and turn it into a million dollar building that will stand the test of time, as it has in the past. It has witnessed and wrapped its arms around plays, lectures, school programs, weddings, musical events and so much more.
Two of the items on our first list in 1992 were to install an elevator and purchase a grand piano for the stage. We close 2016 with those items accomplished.
So, as I step down from the leadership role and look at the talented and able members to carry this forward, I must say how proud I am of all who worked so hard these past 25 years and who still hold that dream we have cultivated over the years.
As I leave, my only word of advice is to never give up and always keep your goal in front of you. And that goal is to provide the community of Harrington and surrounding areas, a place to come, shut out the problems of life, and enjoy what we have to offer. We have been given a treasure and we must treasure it and take care of it. She is worth it!!!
Thank you all for your friendships that we have created with each other that will last a lifetime.
President, Harrington Opera House Society
Art & Music Committee
Carol G. & Billie Herron
- Piano and Art classes of the 2015-2016 season picked up again in Jan 2016 and continued until May.
- The recital was held on May 22 in the auditorium. Heather Safe's piano students played their selected pieces on our newly acquired 7”1’ Boston (designed by Steinway) Grand Piano. Light refreshments were served and Certificates of Participation were presented to the youth who also took part in this year's HOHS Creative Arts Program.
- Heather offered our first summer music classes, held once a month for her students.
- Piano Class began for the 2016-2017 season on Sept14th. Heather Safe is our only instructor this season and she has 7 students. This year’s students also have had access to play the grand piano upstairs as part of their instruction.
- Heather arranged for her students this year to perform at the Davenport Retirement Village, at the MAC in Spokane and also held a Piano Performance / Group class in Nov. in which all of her combined students (private and CHS) came to the Opera House to play the grand piano on the stage.
- The Art class has a new instructor, Connie King from Harrington. Connie retired after 24 years of teaching art and was looking for a way to offer art to the community. Art classes are on Monday afternoons coinciding with the Music class. There no fee for these lessons.
- The room continues to serve as a meeting room for several local organizations, and as the bridal suite for a wedding. The construction crews used it for meetings and lunches. Local artists work for sale is on display.
- The room was pressed into a new use as the rummage fundraiser next door overflowed into the Art room. Vintage Jewelry and Hats that are for sale are now on a semi-permanent display in the room.
- The square grand piano and Harrington school piano was moved next door.
- The small Wurlitzer piano was moved from upstairs to the Art room.
- Paul and Lorraine Gilliland graciously loaned the Opera House their beautiful Yamaha upright piano. This now provides two pianos for the instructor and students to use together.
- The elevator project needed an ADA access point from outside. As the sidewall, parking area, ADA ramp and a zero point threshold at the Art room doorway was already in place on Willis St, a route thru the Art room provided the best option. An entrance was cut through the east wall of the Art room, a ramp installed, and the ticket booth area redesigned to provide ADA access from the street, to the ticket booth, and on through the building to the elevator lobby.
- The room was the site of a town hall meeting on May 2.with Rep Tom Dent and Senator Judy Warnick. Just as the meeting got started, the trucks containing the new elevator arrived, which was a special sight for them to see, as both folks supported the funding that we received from the state for the elevator project.
- With the arrival of the elevator, the monitor in the room is no longer needed for a main floor video feed of an event upstairs in the auditorium. However it is very useful for both music and art classes and can be used by other groups for meetings, power points and classes as needed
- The room next door was used for the rummage fundraiser 5 times this year which raised about $2000.
Gordon Herron & Carol G.
The year 2016 saw the completion of projects dreamed of for many years. The most exciting and demanding one was the installation of a long awaited elevator that now makes the entire building accessible for all our patrons. Working closely with architects and engineers and skilled contractors The Building Committee oversaw the project from inception to the first ride up to the auditorium.
To make the theatre venue even more accommodating, an ADA approved restroom was completed and functioning. We now have power and plumbing facilities to the service area at the rear of the auditorium to support the intermission snack program.
All the painting and millwork staining was done by members of the society saving over $4,000 from the elevator contract.
Auditorium lighting was rewired to provide house light control from the head of both stairways and new power outlets for the east half to the second floor.
New ADA access was built connecting the art/music room to the main lobby.
A small office was constructed behind the ticket area.
The building committee would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement and the hundreds of hours of labor provided this year to make all of these wonderful things happen.
During 2016 the Harrington Opera House held and the Society sponsored numerous events that supported the arts and provided a venue for a variety of community activities. Due to the installation of the elevator, the events season did not begin until May. This wonderful addition to the Opera House made it possible for many more people to attend.
The Stitchin’ Chicks’ were the first ones to hold an event following the much-anticipated elevator installation. On May 21st during Cruizin’ Harrington Days, beautiful hand-crafted items as well as artwork filled the auditorium. Special music on the new Steinway-designed Boston grand piano added to the enjoyment of the day.
The recital for the piano students of Heather Safe, including those enrolled in the HOHS music program, was held on May 22 in the auditorium with all of them performing on the Boston.
On June 4, Bluegrass group, Bridges Home, performed a wonderful concert of traditional folk & Celtic standards as well as incredible original music before an appreciative crowd. Bel Canto of Yakima, including former Harrington resident, Jayne Ottmar, returned to the Opera House on June 25, 2016 to present a concert titled "Music is What Feelings Sound Like". They last performed here with the Tapestry choral group in April 2010. A small but enthusiastic audience enjoyed their collection of patriotic, American standards, spiritual, and show tunes.
On August 14 Sky McCauley and her instructor, Jeanne Bourgeois, held a private violin recital.
Nu-Blu, country bluegrass group from North Carolina, made a return visit on August 19 and entertained everyone with their talented instrumental and vocal performance.
The Needhams returned for a performance of their inspirational gospel music on Friday, September 23 during Fall Festival and the Opera House was open for tours for friends and alumni the following day.
October was an especially busy and exciting month. Following much planning and anticipation, our special gala event was held on Saturday, October 1 to dedicate the elevator and the 7’1” Steinway-designed Boston grand piano. Special guests were Representatives Tom Dent and Matt Manweller as well as Senator Judy Warnick. All three were instrumental in helping the Opera House Society procure a state capital projects grant for the elevator installation. Linda Zellmer, Rebecca Hardy and Heather Safe entertained those in attendance with beautiful piano selections. Delicious appetizers as well as wine and other beverages served in commemorative glasses lent a special touch to the day.
Lance Strite and Jessica Siberian were united in marriage in the auditorium on October 8.
Pianist and composer, John Nilsen from Portland, performed on October 22 playing many of his original compositions as well as familiar songs. It was a fantastic way to showcase the Boston.
On November 19, pianist and multi-media artist, Scott Kirby from Colorado, performed in front of a large and very appreciative crowd. Known as one of the premier ragtime pianists in the United States, he played well-known as well as original compositions while showcasing vintage videos, photographs and original artwork on a large screen. The entire Harrington school student body had the opportunity to see a portion of his program in the auditorium the day before as well. It was an amazing concert.
December 3 Santa Clause (aka Charley Colbert!) made a return visit for pictures and visits with old and young alike. Karen Robertson once again volunteered her photography talents.
Rounding out 2016, the Parks Family and The Dion Family performed on December 9. They brought the sounds of the Christmas season with their Country Christmas concert.
Throughout the year volunteers had the opportunity to give tours to visiting groups and individuals.
A variety of sumptuous hor d'oeuvres accompanied by seasonal beverages were served at many of these events. We are looking forward to another successful year of events and entertainment in the Opera House for 2017. A big thank you is extended to all those who have attended and financially supported our events!
Promotion & Marketing
A major component of the marketing strategy continued to be on-line, including the Harrington Opera House website (http://www.harringtonoperahouse.org/) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/HarringtonOperaHouse/) as well as posting on other sites. Most events were promoted via free on-line community calendars such as KPBX Public Radio, The Inlander, Huckleberry Press, area radio and TV stations, Whofish.org – a Washington State tourism and events portal, and a variety of on-line yard sale/classified add groups. The Lincoln County EDC assisted by sharing Harrington Opera House Society news and event announcements with their on-line, print media and radio ads.
Other marketing methods included paid advertising in the Lincoln Advertiser, area newspapers, and Davenport Theatrical production programs. “Harrington Opera House Happenings” general news releases were sent quarterly to the town newspapers in Lincoln County and photos of HOHS events were provided for Marge Womach’s Harrington news articles in the Odessa Record. Utilizing Brown Paper Tickets for some ticketed events also helped promote the HOH through their on-line listing of area events.
Two direct mailings, a newsletter in late January and announcement for the October 1 Gala Event, and several email updates promoting upcoming events, were utilized to market HOHS efforts and opportunities. Posters were created for most events and distributed throughout Lincoln County as well as Ritzville and occasionally Spokane.
An updated color brochure for the Harrington Opera House as well as reprints of a monochrome brochure highlighting the history of the Harrington Opera House and the Bank Block Building were available for all visitors.
The most effective method of telling our story and generating interest and attendance remains personal interactions by members and supporters with family, friends, co-workers, and others.
Karen Robertson, Volunteer Advertising & Marketing Chair
Harrington Opera House Society
Nominations & Election of Board Officers
Billie Herron presented the report of the nominating committee at the December meeting. As of December 5, 2016, there were still a vacancies for the President and Co-Treasurer Positions.
Billie Herrorn (outgoing President) and Ed Haugan (outgoing Co-Treasurer) agreed to serve through January to allow time to recruit persons to serve in those positions.
Officers for 2017
President – _____________
Vice President – Carol G.
Secretary - Linda Wagner
Co-Treasurers – ______________ and Sheryl Stedman
Historian – Bunny Haugan
Building Engineer – Carol G.
There were no nominations from the floor. The members on the slate were unanimously accepted and voted in.