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St. Cecilia Society


LA Dave

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Here's a little gem. Over near the library, at 24 Ransom N.E., there is a 19th century auditorium which may rank as one of the best venues for chamber music in the U.S. It is also an architectural masterpiece.

The building was designed around 1892 by Henry Ives Cobb, the noted Chicago historicist who also designed the earliest buildings on the University of Chicago campus as well as the Fisheries Pavilion at the Columbian Exposition of 1893. Inside there is a magnificent stained glass window by the Tiffany studio, designed by a GR native, Frederick Stewart Church.

How many of you have seen this building or, better yet, gone inside, or even better yet, heard a concert there?

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A gem indeed.

Pre-renovation, the building housed the 1993 Heritage Theatre Group season. In the '80s, Grand Valley Artists rented studio space in the basement, and Local 56 of the American Federation of Musicians had offices there.

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A gem indeed.

Pre-renovation, the building housed the 1993 Heritage Theatre Group season. In the '80s, Grand Valley Artists rented studio space in the basement, and Local 56 of the American Federation of Musicians had offices there.

Yes. One important thing that I neglected to mention. The restoration of that fantastic auditorium was made possible by the generosity of the Royce family, patrons of the arts in GR for decades. Their daughter is a noted harpist.

It is families like the Royces -- and the Meijers, the deVoses and the Van Andels -- that has made such a difference in GR cultural matters.

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It's cool to read the history of this place! What a diverse spectrum of events too - the obvious musical performances, weddings, receptions, punk shows.

I've been to a graduation in the auditorium. I also took part in a yoga workshop on the second floor - the natural light was great and there was plenty of room for the ton of yogis who descended on the place!

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