Summer Songs: A Virtual Benefit Concert for Northampton's Academy of Music
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Some of the Pioneer Valley's most notable musicians will virtually gather to perform songs that celebrate summer and raise funds for Northampton's oldest performing arts venue. Opened on May 23, 1891 and deeded to the Citizens of Northampton a year later, the Academy of Music became the first municipally owned theatre in the nation. The theater quickly became a favorite stop for leading troupes and big-name performers: legendary French actress Sarah Bernhardt, film star Mae West, illusionist Harry Houdini and many more.
The Academy has evolved over time and today, in addition to presenting their own slate of national and international artists and hosting 25+ shows presented each year by DSP Shows, the theatre is also home to local resident companies and partners including the Pioneer Valley Ballet, PanOpera, Valley Light Opera, Signature Sounds and WGBY.
As a non-profit live event venue, the Academy is critical to the local economy as a tourism destination and revenue generator for local businesses. The Academy typically serves over 62,000 patrons annually with 140 performances. Venues like the Academy were the first to be closed and they will be the last to open.
The Academy's executive director Debra J'Anthony expounds on the financial implications that the Covid19 Pandemic has caused for the theatre:
"The Academy’s doors closed on March 12th. Since then, we have lost an estimated one hundred thousand dollars in revenue, furloughed 11 staff members and our 35 member union stagehands have not been called to work. Currently, we attend webinars and Zoom meetings to prepare for when we can safely reopen by meeting state and local safety guidelines. We do not know when that will be but we anticipate 2021. In the meantime, we are working with our artists, promoters and arts organizations on necessary postponements. In addition, we are providing remote educational programs for our youth and focusing on capital projects to enhance the patron’s experience. We look forward to the day when we can reopen our doors and welcome our community and visitors back into our beautiful, historic Academy of Music Theater."
The impressive lineup of artists, all with ties to the area, are donating their time to raise funds to help the Academy continue as a destination for live music, theatre, dance, film and more. Donations of all amounts are welcome and encouraged and can be made at https://bit.ly/AOMdonate or on the Academy of Music website at www.aomtheatre.com
The Academy of Music Theatre
274 Main Street
Northampton, MA, 01060