The glory days of a lumber-era opera house are being recast in downtown Traverse City, where a $4.3 million restoration project has reached completion of its first major stage.
This weekend, the public will have an opportunity to see the fruits of that effort when the City Opera House Heritage Association hosts an open house at the renovated facility on Front Street.
On Friday, March 12, an invited audience of donors to the project will be treated to a performance of Mozarts Requiem by the Traverse Symphony Orchestra. On Saturday, the Opera House will open its doors to the public for an educational focus from 2-4 p.m., and again on Sunday from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. in a Family day event, with tours, information and entertainment.
Additionally, Horizon Books is hosting a line-up of authors and entertainment on behalf of the Opera House on Saturday to contribute a portion of its sales to the project.
Association Executive Director Gerie Greenspan notes, however, that much remains to be done on the current 450-seat facility. She says the association will launch a new fund drive on March 15 to raise an additional $800,000 towards the project, which is expected to require a total of $8.5 million for its completion.
Its a terrific space and a really big project, Greenspan says. We raised enough money for more than half of the project and then decided that to make the Opera House fully operational as an enhanced version of what it could be, wed need to seek more funds.
While the final polish wont be placed on the facility until 2006, the City Opera House will be hosting shows as early as this fall.
Built in 1891 from the riches of the timber harvest in Northern Michigan, the Opera House is designed to seat up to 730 people. The restoration plan for the 41,000-square-foot facility encompasses four floors and four storefronts.
Volunteer to let it grow
Got a green thumb? Then the Botanical Garden Society of Northwest Michigan wants you. The Society is seeking members to help bring a botanical garden to the region.
Were nothing without our members, said Tim Volas, membership chair. Their support took the dream of a few dedicated people and proved that it was a winning idea. Future support and the support of those who will join with us will send a strong message of community commitment to the gardens.
In October, the Society secured 80 acres outside Traverse City between 3 Mile Road and 4 Mile Road, north of Hammond Road in East Bay Township for the new Garden. Highlights of the proposed garden include:
Indoor and outdoor collections of significant plants and native species will be the attraction of the Display Gardens.
Research gardens and eco-designed facilities will serve as a living laboratory. Research ventures will test new ideas and plant materials.
Featuring permanent and changing exhibits, Demonstration Gardens will explore topics of today, from erosion control methods to everyday plant care. The Destination Gardens will also provide settings for family picnics, weddings and special events. Visitors will enjoy a café and gift shop, walking trails and park areas, snowshoe trails and places for a winter bonfire all among wetlands, forests, and views of Grand Traverse Bay from the highest ridge.
To join up, call the BGS office at 935-4077 or, see www.traversebotanicalgarden.com.
Wars anniversary protest
On Saturday, March 20, demonstrations throughout the world will mark the one year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Nationally, marches will be held in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and many other cities, including Lansing. A Traverse City demonstration is planned from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Grand Traverse County Government Center at 400 Boardman.