By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog Editor
Seven months after the untimely death of its longtime director, Kenyon Room comes back to life.
Lou MagorS’s sudden death in April came a year after a period that was already uncertain and baffling for all involved in the arts. And then, mourning its charismatic leader, fans of Kenyon Hall wondered about the future of this historic place.
But now Kenyon Hall is once again hosting shows – from recorded and streamed performances like last weekend’s concert by Casey MacGill, To The twelfth night productions‘next holiday game in person, opening soon. The board of directors of its non-profit parent company Seattle artists stepped in to actively do the job that needs to be done, ”explained a longtime board member Connie corrick, in a conversation with us at the lobby (7904 35th SW).
This includes providing income to keep the venue in business. In addition to hosting performances, the hall was also used for music and dance lessons, before the pandemic. Now part of it is coming back, Corrick told us – music lessons and tai chi are back on the calendar, to begin with.
Seattle Artists board members are stepping up their efforts “until we feel like we can hire someone” to run the venue, she explained. It’s a new role for the artists on the board, herself included – “Lou had always been the one running the room – the board has always been a support. Now we become an active board of directors, taking responsibility. It followed shock and grief. “It was devastating to lose him so unexpectedly – he intended to run the place for at least 5 more years! But we all took the plunge. It wasn’t about just sitting around, it was ‘was a question of how to move forward.
COVID, of course, complicated matters: “We couldn’t just reopen. ”
But gradually they started to move in that direction, with the support of many artists who performed in the venue – “many volunteered to do live shows – Lou had started this – to generate income. , for them too. They are interested (to ensure) that the legacy and history of the hall can continue.
This history dates back over a century, including its beginnings as the Olympic Heights Social Club. The story is part of the charm of the venue, but also part of its challenges – it has taken work over the years, although so far, Corrick says, “anything is achievable.” But bathrooms do need some work, and a 1960s oven might need more than routine maintenance for a long time. They are raising funds in a campaign called “Lights on for Lou, “to” keep the lights on. “(Seattle Artists owns the venue, and there is a mortgage to pay.)
(Lou Magor souvenir exhibition near the hall door)
The date has been set, meanwhile, for the great celebration of his life which could not take place in the spring or summer, again because of the pandemic. May 14 and / or 15, 2022 are the dates they wrote in pencil. And the best tribute of all will be to have some more things to do in the room by then.
First of all, “Twelfth Night Productions”It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio PlayWill be back at Kenyon Hall for performances on December 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 7:30 pm and December 12 and 19 at 3 pm. (Get tickets here!) Look for announcements on other shows soon after the first of the year.
And what about the hall’s legendary Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ (itself almost a century old)?
Corrick says Dennis james will be back in March to play it alongside silent films – a house favorite. And she and the rest of the board will do everything in their power to ensure the continuity of the shows: “So many people, performers and audience members, love the venue – it’s an honor to be part of it. ‘try to keep that alive. But not just by preserving the place – she is also grateful that they can “help people feel the welcome and the joy that Lou has brought here.”