TROY, NY (NEWS10) – The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall has 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 one block to 30 2nd Street. The plans for the new building called for a music hall on the upper floor.
Architect George B. Post designed the six-story building, which included bank offices, retail spaces, and the Music Hall. Construction began in July 1871 and was completed in April 1875. The total cost was $435,000. The building featured granite and iron staircases and intricate frescoes above the stage and on the ceiling.
The Music Hall officially opened in 1875 but was not received favorably by critics, the website said. In 1890, a large Odell concert organ was installed in the hall. “Legend has it that this modification transformed the hall into the acoustic marvel it is today,” the website said.
The Odell organ was built in 1882 by the Yonkers firm of JS and CS Odell and was originally installed in the New York mansion of millionaire William Belden. It was later purchased by Troy Savings Bank. The organ was restored to working order in 2006 and is the largest 19th-century concert organ in its original condition, the website says.
As for acoustics, the website said the room’s narrow shoebox shape promotes early reflections off the side walls. The high ceilings and the 1180 seats provide privacy and create optimal reverberation. The original padded wooden seats also absorb minimal noise. The thick plaster surfaces support mid and low frequency sounds and the ornamental details act as acoustic diffusion. The Odell organ also acts as acoustic diffusion.
At the start of the 20th century, the Music Hall hosted world-renowned artists such as Lillian Nordica, Henri Vieuxtemps, Ignace Jan Paderewski, Albert Spaulding, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Myra Hess and Jose Iturbi. As the century progressed, Troy’s industrial dominance declined and its wealth faded. The success of radio, film and television also contributed to the Music Hall’s decline.
According to the website, community leaders in Troy began looking for ways to save the room. In 1979, a group of residents formed the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall Revitalization Committee. The committee was able to secure grants from the New York State Council for the Arts for an audience potential study and from the Howard & Bush Memorial Foundation for managerial development.
With support from the bank and additional funding from the city and county, the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall Corporation was formed. The non-profit organization rents the room from the bank. It began its introductory 1979–80 season with a performance by the Benny Goodman Band.
The hall was named a National Historic Landmark in 1989. According to the website, it is used more than 150 days a year for various performances.