The day before we went out to the farm John and I took a really horrible kayaking trip on the Pigeon River. It was basically about 3 hours of paddling as fast as humanly possible to escape the swarms of bugs that followed us on the river. I didn't want to risk losing the camera, so all I have to show for it are the scratches I got from accidentally running my kayak into various trees along the route.
That night we had my former voice teacher Joe over for a chicken dinner.
During dinner he told us about his new favorite recital venue: an old restored opera house in Hicksville (sic), OH. His farm is near the Ohio border and apparently Joe just stumbled upon the place. We decided to go check it out during our visit to the farm.
It was built in the mid-1880s. Touring groups on their way from Chicago to the east coast would stop there and perform their vaudeville acts.
Over the years it's gone through several phases as other things; a silent movie theatre, a "talkies" movie theatre, and then a bar/dance club in the 1980s.
Joe had a recital with his senior students there a year or so ago and struck up a great relationship with the guild of old ladies that's restoring it.
He's having another recital there this year, and staging Mozart's "The Impressario" with three of his high school singers as a fundraiser. The one real problem with the place is their lack of a decent piano. Joe wants to help them start a fund to buy a piano from a place in Fort Wayne that will sell them one at cost.
I can see why he's attracted to the place. It's small enough to seem really intimate, but big enough to have plenty of resonance. I want to come back there next summer and do a recital...though it may depend on the piano situation.
We spent a bunch of time while we were there trying to lower this screen. It was found in the back of the stage during the restoration and was sent to St. Louis for its own repairs.
It's hand painted and signed by the artist. Just like the rest of the place, it's not what I'd expect to find in Hicksville, OH.