TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall has had a long history at 30 2nd Street in Troy. According to the Troy Music Hall website, the Troy Savings Bank was founded in 1823 and operated from smaller banking offices.
In 1870, the bank moved a block away to 30 2nd Street. The plans for the new building included a music hall on the upper floor.
Architect George B. Post designed the six-story building, which included bank offices, business spaces, and the Music Hall. Construction began in July 1871 and was completed in April 1875. The overall cost was $435,000. The building included granite and iron staircases, and intricate frescoes above the stage and on the ceiling.
The Music Hall officially opened in 1875 but was not met with a favorable response from critics, said the website. In 1890, a large Odell concert organ was installed in the Hall. “Legend has it that this modification transformed the Hall into the acoustic wonder that it is today,” said the website.
The Odell organ was built in 1882 by the Yonkers firm of J.S. and C.S. Odell and was originally installed in the New York mansion of millionaire William Belden. It was then purchased by the Troy Savings Bank. The organ was restored to working condition in 2006 and is the largest 19th-century concert organ in its original condition, said the website.
In regard to acoustics, the website said the narrow shoebox form of the Hall promotes early sidewall reflections. The tall ceiling and the 1180 seats provide intimacy and create optimal reverberation. The original padded wooden seats also absorb minimum sound. The thick plaster surfaces support middle and low-frequency sound and the ornamental detailing acts as acoustic diffusion. The Odell organ also acts as acoustic diffusion.
In the early 20th century, the Music Hall had performances by world-renowned artists such as Lillian Nordica, Henri Vieuxtemps, Ignace Jan Paderewski, Albert Spaulding, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Myra Hess, and Jose Iturbi. As the century went on, Troy’s industrial dominance declined and its wealth faded. The success of radio, cinema, and TV also contributed to the decline of the Music Hall.
According to the website, Troy’s community leaders began looking for ways to save the Hall. In 1979, a group of residents formed the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall Revitalization Committee. The committee was able to get grants from the New York State Council for the Arts for an audience-potential study and the Howard & Bush Memorial Foundation for managerial development.
With the bank’s support and additional funding from the city and county, the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall Corporation was created. The not-for-profit organization leases the Hall from the bank. It began its introductory 1979-1980 season with a performance by the Benny Goodman Band.
The Hall was named a National Historic Landmark in 1989. According to the website, it’s in use over 150 days a year for various performances.