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Tarrytown is Alive With The Sound of Music: The Tarrytown Music Hall
We are pleased to have a volunteer from Edgemont High School assisting with research. His name is Ryan Stuzin. To learn more about him, you can read his biography in the about the authors section.
By: Riley Wentzler & Felicia Barber with research assistance from Ryan Stuzin
What do: BB King, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Bolton, Matt Damon, Whitney Houston, and Former President Woodrow Wilson all have in common? “The secret lies at 13 Main St., Tarrytown, NY 10591. As most of our readers probably already know, that is the address for the Tarrytown Music Hall. All of those people have, at one point, sung, spoken, or otherwise performed there. It is the oldest theater in Westchester County, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The music hall was built in 1885, in the middle of the historical period known as The Gilded Age, (1870–1900) and many of the famous captains of industry/robber barons (Greenburgh’s Assistant Town Historians do not want to enter into this ongoing debate, and so we have provided both terms, but, our readers know which people we are talking about) of the era frequently attended concerts there. It was designed by architects, Theodore De Lemos and August Cordes, and built by, chocolate maker, William Wallace (https://tarrytownmusichall.org/history/).
The Early Years:
It was extremely well attended during The Gilded Age and The Progressive Era (1900-1929) (https://tarrytownmusichall.org/history/). During the Progressive Era, it was such a highly respected institution that both Former President Theodore Roosevelt and Former President Woodrow Wilson gave speeches there (https://www.nytimes.com/1996/03/24/nyregion/tarrytown-music-hall-thrives-on-diversity.html). However, it was not entirely without controversy. In 1910, a performance of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” caused audience members to throw rotten tomatoes (https://www.nytimes.com/1996/03/24/nyregion/tarrytown-music-hall-thrives-on-diversity.html). The first movies ever shown in Westchester County were shown at the Tarrytown Music Hall (https://www.nytimes.com/1996/03/24/nyregion/tarrytown-music-hall-thrives-on-diversity.html).
Hard times in the 1970s:
Although it survived the Great Depression, the rising popularity of television in the 1960s and 1970s was a significant threat to the theater (https://tarrytownmusichall.org/history/). Sadly, the theater closed in 1976 and was scheduled for demolition (https://tarrytownmusichall.org/history/). Heroically, The Friends of the Mozartina Musical Arts Conservatory, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, educational, and cultural organization, bought the theater on Valentine’s Day of 1980 and immediately began renovating it; thus saving it from destruction.
Why it’s on The National Register of Historic Places:
It had been a very close save however, and so in order to prevent any future plans to demolish it, The Friends of the Mozartina Musical Arts Conservatory petitioned to have it placed on the National Register of Historic Places. This process took many months, but eventually, they succeeded. Although many famous people have performed there, the mere presence of these notables is not why it’s on the National Register of Historic Places. It earned its place on this list because many women’s suffrage rallies were held there and because it was one of the first theaters in the country to show silent films (https://tarrytownmusichall.org/history/).
In Modern Times:
In modern times, the music hall has not been sitting stoically and majestically like some piece of fine china which everyone gazes at, as if it were the sunset, but no one touches. Rather, until the outbreak of Covid-19, it was carrying on its noble mission which, according to its website, is to, “provide quality programs in the performing arts for the general public including performing opportunities for students and professional artists” (https://tarrytownmusichall.org/our-mission).In addition to various types of concerts and plays, the music hall has also showed several films, and hosted roller skating events. Once, it even hosted the USA Bodybuilding Championships (https://www.nytimes.com/1996/03/24/nyregion/tarrytown-music-hall-thrives-on-diversity.html). Each year, 85,000 people attend some type of performance there (https://tarrytownmusichall.org/our-mission).
However, no business, no matter how historic the building or noble the mission, exists in a vacuum. Like everything else in our society, in recent days, the music hall has felt the effects of the global pandemic of Covid-19. All events that were planned from March 2020 onward, have been canceled (https://www.ticketmaster.com/tarrytown-music-hall-tickets-tarrytown/venue/122 & https://visitsleepyhollow.com/tarrytown-music-hall-performances/)
Previous Slices of History include:
About the Authors:
We are both Assistant Town Historians at Greenburgh Town Hall and we are engaged to be married and are currently looking for permanent employment.
I was born and raised in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania. In high school, I took every honors course available including four years of Spanish. I received A’s in all of them. I graduated third in my class of 146 students. This brought me to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Once there, I continued my trend of academic excellence. I graduated summa cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a Master’s in Communication Studies, with a G.P.A of 3.94. It was also there that I met my lovely fiancée, Felicia Barber. My Master’s in Communication has promoted public speaking, teamwork, and customer service. My Political Science degree has developed my research skills using computer-based tools and provided me with experience using the Microsoft Office products. My minor in Spanish has facilitated my bilingual capabilities. During my internship at Greenburgh, I created the petition for the State Roads project using website tools. My diverse education and areas of interest have provided me with a wide range of skills. I look forward to finding a career opportunity in business or government. To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to help me find employment, you can contact me at email@example.com
I was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. I graduated from Ardsley High School. I recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was here that I met my fiancé, Riley Wentzler. As a result of my academic excellence, I won a scholarship every year. I learned and applied many graphic design skills to projects during my summer internships and at school. I am proficient in using Adobe graphic design applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For my Identity/branding course at Edinboro, I created logos to appear on the tee-shirts of Physical Education majors. For a veteran’s upcoming event, I used a typeface to focus the reader to the soldier in the poster. For the State Roads Legislative Campaign project, I created the embedded graphic-photo that accompanied the petition I am looking for a job to utilize my skills as a Graphic Designer in an agency, print shop, company or government To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about my artwork or to help me find employment you can contact me at email@example.com.
I was born and raised in Scarsdale, New York. I am a senior at Edgemont High School, where I am captain of the varsity ski and golf teams. I also cover the ski team for the Scarsdale Inquirer. I have been a volunteer junior ski patroller at Stratton Mountain in Vermont and founded the Red Cross Club at my high school. I will be attending Colgate University in the fall, with a plan to study political science and/or history and eventually go to law school. I participated in the Town of Greenburgh internship program last summer, which inspired me to learn more about our town and its government. That, coupled with my love of history, is what prompted me to reach out to Riley and Felicia to help them with their articles about the history of Greenburgh.
Two Interviews with the authors:
Friends of the Mozartina Conservatory . (2021 , (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). OUR MISSION. Retrieved from Tarrytown Music Hall: https://tarrytownmusichall.org/our-mission/
Friends of the Mozartina Conservatory . (2021, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). HISTORY. Retrieved from Tarrytown Music Hall: https://tarrytownmusichall.org/history/
Markowitz, D. (1996 , March 24). Tarrytown Music Hall Thrives on Diversity. New York Times, p. 13.