The Music Hall

The rhythm filled the Tarrytown Music Hall on a recent Saturday night as the Tom Chapin family took the stage to celebrate the music hall’s 135th birthday. It was a gala occassion, on Zoom of course, and the chat room was spinning. This venerable old theater started life as a venue for classical music. The place was a haunt of the Rockefeller’s, the Gould’s and the Vanderbilts all of whom had mansions in the hood. Well, so to speak. Like all good things it came to an end, not in one fell swoop but due to diminished audiences, the old place deteriorated and the village fathers, probably not the mothers, wanted to tear it down sometime in the seventies to make room for a parking lot. Some thought that unthinkable. Enter The Friends of the Mozartina Musical Arts Conservatory, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, educational, and cultural organization. They purchased the theater in 1980, a brave rescue considering the condition of the place with a leaky roof and no heat.

The heroes in this saga were founding board member Berthold F. Ringeisen, a college professor and his wife, Helen, a piano teacher. Yes, they had the vision.

Today, the Music Hall is a fully functioning theater, offering top-notch talent in music, theater, dance, and film. According to their website, the Music Hall now operates with a full-time staff, sixty freelancers, and over 200 volunteers. As a destination, the Music Hall attracts over 85,000 people, including 25,000 children annually from all over the tri-state area. The theater is an economic engine that generates over $1 million for the local community and contributes over $100,000 of space to local nonprofit organizations.

The Hall has seen Ani DiFranco, BB King, Cyndi Lauper, Dave Brubeck, Gregg Allman, Indigo Girls, Norah Jones, Pete Seeger, Randy Newman, Rufus Wainwright, Sonny Rollins, Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis…Joan Rivers… you name them, they’ve performed there.