|Photo: Rural Intelligence|
I am outraged by the decision to change the name of the Hudson Opera House, and I question the reason given to justify it. The name is a barrier to understanding what the place is all about? That seems an inadequate reason.
I wasn't one of the original group that organized and raised money to buy the building, but I was part of the board early on--when the group was working hard to raise money for the building but didn't yet occupy it in any way. It was Janet Marsh Ebel and I who insisted that the organization needed to be in the building if the effort was to succeed. And so it began--the "Open the Door" campaign. First the West Room, which served as office, exhibition and performance space; then the center hall; then the workshop; then the space that had been Hudson police headquarters; and now--the crowning achievement--the entire building has been restored and readied for use. Through all that time, the building was known as the Hudson Opera House, a name it was given in 1881, when every city and town in American thought it needed an opera house as evidence of its respectability and civic pride. To change the name now is to disregard that history, as well as the history of the past twenty-five years during which the Hudson Opera House developed and evolved and defined itself. It is also an example of dumbing down, as if people are incapable of grasping a historic meaning of "opera house" that is greater than a place where operas are performed.
Hudson Hall means nothing. It could be a dormitory or an apartment house. There are Hudson Halls all over the place. More things happen at 327 Warren Street than can be described by such a bland name as Hudson Hall. The name is at variance with the mission. Is it meant to suggest this is Carnegie Hall in Hudson?
The name Hudson Opera House is unique and has a special place in the history of Hudson--both in the 19th century and in the past quarter century. Before it is discarded or reduced to a tag line, those making this momentous decision should find out what past and present supporters think. This past and present supporter, for one, thinks Hudson Opera House is the name that should be retained into the future.COPYRIGHT 2017 CAROLE OSTERINK