This summer, after the close of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's season and the last of the high school graduations, the well-worn, circa-1968 seats in Kleinhans Music Hall's main auditorium will be replaced, thanks to the generosity of local foundations, announced Christopher N. Brown, chairman of the board of directors of Kleinhans Management Music Hall Inc.
"What better way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the hall than by improving the patron experience," Brown said. "The Kleinhans family donated this money to provide an atmosphere in which the people of Western New York could enjoy great music and events in comfort."
Funding came from the John R. Oishei Foundation, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation and M&T Bank.
"We are delighted to have this opportunity to play a part in the restoration of Kleinhans Music Hall. The quality of this historic venue is so closely tied to the greatness of our Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as to our region's architectural legacy," said Shelley C. Drake, president of The M&T Charitable Foundation.
The seat replacement is part of a five-year, $4 million renovation plan. A number of important projects have been completed, including expansion of the women's lavatory on the lower level, removal of carpeting under the seats on the main floor, and repair of woodwork throughout the hall. The building has also been refitted with a new HVAC system, an updated electrical system and cost-efficient lighting, thanks to major investments from the City of Buffalo via Mayor Byron Brown, and the state of New York through the Dormitory Authority.
The renovation will include the installation of handrails in the balcony and the creation of a wheelchair seating area on the main floor. The balcony aisles will be wider. In many cases, the new seats will offer more generous proportions. To accommodate these changes, the seating capacity of the hall will be reduced from the current 2,800 to 2,400, providing a more comfortable and intimate concert experience.
These improvements will be completed in time for the start of the 2015-16 BPO season and the 75th anniversary diamond jubilee celebration of the hall on Oct. 12. Fundraising for these and other improvements is ongoing. To learn how to contribute, contact Sarah Carney at [email protected].