Saturday, August 12, 2017

Everything Must Change

In March, the Hudson Opera House rocked our sense of what should be by announcing, to mark the completion of the final phase of restoration, the re-opening of the grand second-floor auditorium, that it was changing its name to Hudson Hall. This morning, there comes another comfort-shattering announcement. Gary Schiro, who has been the beloved executive director of the Hudson Opera House since 1998, who has seen the Opera House through nineteen years of progress, from one usable room in an otherwise derelict building to a completely and elegantly restored building, while at the same time developing the Hudson Opera House into a significant cultural center for Hudson, Columbia County, and beyond, is stepping down. The following announcement came from Hudson Hall this morning.

Hudson Hall announced today that Gary Schiro has informed the Board of Directors of his plan to step down at the end of 2017 after 19 years as executive director. The Board of Directors also announced that Tambra Dillon, co-director since 2013, has been appointed to succeed him.
Schiro was hired as the first executive director of the Hudson Opera House, and has overseen the organization’s growth from its fledgling beginnings to the thriving cultural center it has become. His tenure is capped by the recent restoration and re-opening of the historic performance hall, supported by an $8.5 million capital campaign.
“Hudson Hall has reached an important milestone under Gary’s leadership” said President of the Board of Directors, Susan Hendrickson. “With the reopening of our historic theater, Gary is leaving a remarkable legacy that advances the organization’s role as a leader in the civic and cultural life of the region. On behalf of the board and staff, we would like to thank him for his enormous contributions and look forward to celebrating his achievements in the coming months. We are especially grateful to have ample time to plan this transition, and fortunate to have Tambra Dillon in place to succeed him.”
Gary Schiro and Tambra Dillon in 2014
Schiro was hired in 1998 as Hudson Hall’s first executive director. In addition to overseeing the restoration of the building, he has developed a year-round program of events to serve the community. Since re-opening the West Room on the first floor in the December of 1997, Hudson Hall has been at the heart of Hudson’s recovery, delivering cultural and educational programs to connect and serve communities in the Hudson Valley.  
Under Schiro’s stewardship, the nonprofit organization’s annual budget has grown from $60,000 to $650,000. With the generous support of longtime funders and members, it now offers a dynamic, year-round schedule of music, theater, dance, literature, free youth workshops and family programs as well as large-scale community events such as its annual city-wide holiday festival, Winter Walk.
“I am enormously gratified that together we have brought this building back to life” said Schiro. “When I first arrived, people said saving the building was a foolish dream that would never come to fruition. Because of a hardworking and dedicated Board of Directors, joined by a community of generous and visionary supporters, we have been able to demonstrate how communities can be transformed through investment in the arts. None of this could have been accomplished without a committed and talented staff, and I am so pleased that the Board has selected Tammy to lead the organization into the future. Without Tammy at my side these last four years, I know we would have never reached our goal of returning New York State’s oldest surviving theater to public use. I am grateful to know that Hudson Hall, a place I will always cherish, is in such capable hands.”
Tambra Dillon joined Hudson Hall in 2013 as co-director, and has worked closely with Schiro and the Board to realize the building’s restoration and program development. Prior to joining Hudson Hall, she worked at the Cunningham Dance Foundation to spearhead the $10 million Legacy Campaign and oversee marketing and public relations for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s final two-year world tour and the preservation of the iconic choreographer’s work. Previously, she served as Executive Director of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, and as General Manager of Temple Bar Properties in Ireland where she managed Dublin’s cultural district. She began her career in the arts at BAM, where she worked for 12 years, first in Planning and Development and then as Vice President for Marketing and Promotion.


  1. NOOO!!!

    On the other hand, how grateful my household is for all that Gary has achieved over the years. The man is tireless, though he must be extremely tired.

    Thank you Gary, and the best of luck with your transition to a more normal life (heh).