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Levi Hill IV

Levi Hill IV

Levi Hill IV

Since 1940 the Miller has played an important role in Augusta’s entertainment history. But you have to go back a long way to discover when Augusta’s theater life first began.

It was in 1798 that Augusta’s first theater was built on the banks of the Savannah River at 4th Street. After it burned in 1833 another theater was built and then another, and then yet another… And the story goes on until February 1940 when downtown Augusta saw her last grand theater open, the Miller. By this time the city had been home to over fifteen theaters! I guess you could say that we Augustans have “grown up” with theater and the arts.

The Miller is one of the country’s finest examples of post-Depression architecture known as Art Moderne or Streamline. Since her closing in 1983, this handsome structure has stood tall on Broad waiting for a time when life would return. We’re marching closer to that time.

The architects for the Miller renovation are entering an important phase of their work called Design Development and after that, the Construction Document phase. These segments will take a number of months to complete, and as we continue our progress I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the many volunteers and committees who’ve been overseeing the path forward and also to our donors and supporters for enabling this grand endeavor.

Even in its current state, the Miller is a cool place to see. And as the SOA enters its 60th season, there will be a number of opportunities to visit the Symphony’s future home and better understand how the adjacent building (710 Broad) will be joined with her to create a true center for music, arts and music education.

Hope to see you there.

~Levi

Historic Augusta and The Miller Theater

Historic Augusta Georgia logo

Historic Augusta Georgia

Historic Augusta is represented on our Miller Marketing Team, and they offer advice regarding the process of reviving the theater in a way that respects the history of the building. The Miller Team is committed to documenting our process, and to ensuring that we protect the legacy of the theater  and tell stories of her past.

Miller Theater Open House poster

Miller Theater Open House

In addition, in 2013 and 2014, Historic Augusta welcomed the Miller to be a part of their annual “Downtown Loft Tour”, which opens various historic structures to their supporters. This event has allowed an entirely new audience to hear the Miller story, allowing people to see the theater who may not have had the opportunity to tour it otherwise.

The Miller Team would like to thank Historic Augusta for all of their support, and say that we appreciate our partnership with them.

Dr. Mieko H. Di Sano

Together, We Are Music: Programs for Knox Music Institute

The announcement of the naming of the Knox Music Institute on February 22, 2014 brought about a new era in educational programming for Symphony Orchestra Augusta. As a fundamental part of the Symphony’s mission, education has always been a focus. So far the Miller Campaign has reflected on the physical changes it can enact for Augusta- the restoring and renovating of two downtown historic buildings. But brick and mortar means nothing to the community without something with which to fill it. One way in which we can achieve that is through the Knox Music Institute, which will be housed in 710 Broad. It will be a resource for all members of our community regardless of age, background or means. In conversation and collaboration with other arts and youth organizations as well as Georgia Regents University, SOA has begun to develop a suite of educational programs.

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Here are two that will be piloted next year: Music & Wellness The Music and Wellness program will be piloted in January 2015 in collaboration with the Augusta VA Medical Center’s Music Therapy Program. SOA will conduct trainings for SOA orchestra members and other interested musicians in the community, teaching them to deliver relevant and meaningful classical music performances in therapeutic settings. Trained musicians will conduct performances at the Augusta VA Medical Center to support patients in their recovery and we look forward to eventually serving every hospital in the County.

The second program, ROAR, which stands for Responsibility, Orchestra, Achievement and Revolution is inspired by El Sistema-the renowned Venezuelan music and social development initiative now being broadly replicated worldwide-ROAR aims to transform the lives of economically disadvantaged children through participation in orchestral programs in order to end the cycle of poverty. SOA will launch ROAR in spring 2015 as a pilot program in partnership with the Jessye Norman School of the Arts. The pilot will engage 20-30 students in grades 1-2 in afterschool programming-comprising an hour of music instruction followed by supervised time for schoolwork and other structured activities-five days per week. In future years, SOA plans to establish ROAR satellite programs in schools throughout Richmond County with the mission that every child in our county will have the opportunity to be transformed by the act of learning an instrument.ROAR will also include weekly Saturday “super sessions” at the Miller that will bring all participants from around the county and their parents together for rehearsals and related music appreciation programs. These Saturday ROAR sessions may be extended to include adult amateur musicians rehearsing and performing alongside students in intergenerational ensembles. We all look forward to the Miller bustling with creativity and cultural engagement-blind to age, race and wealth-in common enjoyment.

Ron Jones, Columbia County Ballet

In 1979 I turned down an offer from the Pittsburg Ballet Theatre to start their next season as a new Principal Dancer and moved instead with my wife Kathleen to Augusta.  We were expecting our first child and recognized Augusta as an ideal place to raise a family.  The Augusta Ballet warmly welcomed us and I became their first professional dancer on staff.  The Ballet performed regularly at the old Bell Auditorium Music Hall until it was forced to close for much needed renovations.  That was when the Ballet moved into the Miller Theater for a season.  I remember well the excitement of dancing on the Miller stage and joining the receptions that followed in the theater’s glamorous art deco lobby.  Kathleen and I are happy to join in the restoration of both the Miller and her sister theater the Imperial and bring our Columbia County Ballet to the efforts as each of these theaters is returned to it’s former splendor.  Ron Jones, Artistic Director – Columbia County Ballet, Inc.

Anne M. Bell

Sounds from Silence—The Miller

 It was cool all right. On February 23rd smooth symphonic sounds resonated inside the Miller Theater.  The invitation had encouraged us to bring a blanket and dress warmly as there would be no heat in the building.  Bring chairs, too, for orchestra seating.  This was to be an Event despite the spartan accommodations, and we wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

Larry Kirkegaard, the master acoustician directing the sound check, had instructed us about the effects to listen for in different areas of the auditorium.  He also explained that the structure of the building supported the probability for full, clear sound.  Seated in our folding chairs, camp chairs, and beach chairs, we experienced tests  ranging from amplified music to various random sound pitches, ending in natural “unplugged” music provided by performers from the Symphony Orchestra Augusta.  (SOA)  Between checks we could move to other areas of the house to hear the selections from that perspective, a great opportunity for choosing one’s season seating choice before the Grand Opening.  Throughout the orchestra section the sound was amazingly consistent from left to right and even from front to back.  Much of this can be attributed to the open lobby area in the back of the house where the sound travels upward through the balcony and returns to the back of the house as well as arriving directly from the stage.  Mr. Kirkegaard noted the richness throughout the hall. “The sound deep under the balcony was so nourished with sound reflected by the rear wall of the foyer and by the sound making its way through the balcony entry steps and mezzanine openness, that there was barely a change in quality from front to back under the balcony.”  A full circle of sound is achieved with fullness especially for symphonic and choral music.

As volunteer audience members, we were there for several purposes, not just to satisfy our own curiosity.  We and our blankets provided insulation in the auditorium to simulate a full house for the acoustics team’s instruments.  Additionally the front area of the house had been layered with rows of insulation.  Listening carefully we noted the intensity, clarity, and fullness of the various sounds being tested.  Smiles were everywhere.  In this age where we require excellent sound experiences in our lives including our iPods, our car stereos, computer speakers, and noise reduction headphones, here we were sharing the sound experience together.  We could only imagine and thrill in the possibilities of listening to a full orchestra in such a magnificent setting.

Looking around, we were not blind to the decay that has befallen the Miller.  However it is structurally sound and Mr. Kirkegaard himself states that the “Miller Theater does indeed have ‘good bones’ and extraordinary potential.  We learned that its transformation will demand attention to excellence, but not extravagance to achieve.”  We have work to do, but we do not have major obstacles to make the Miller into a superior concert hall.  We are not pioneers in this field, for other cities have found gold in their old venues.   Portland, Oregon took the challenge to renovate its abandoned movie theater, the Paramount, built in 1928.  Since its opening in 1984 the famous Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (aka The Paramount or “The Schnitz”) has become the home of the Oregon Symphony, Portland Youth Philharmonic, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, White Bird Dance Company, and Portland Arts & Lectures.  The Concert Hall has inspired the development of a complete Performing Art Center surrounding her leading Portland to an exciting cultural renaissance.  We, Augustans, can achieve such a goal.  Can’t you almost hear it?

This winter theater gathering was an exhilarating event, and further proved that the Miller Project is a sound investment—it’s all about quality Sound!  The most exciting prospect is that it is happening now.  We have been waiting for an adequate space for concerts forever, and soon we will have the opportunity to hear superb performances as they have been so carefully rehearsed.  Our audiences will really appreciate those initial sound checks we witnessed that February day—it was oh so cool.

 

Anne M. Bell

July 24, 2013

Larry Kirkegaard

New Wine in an Old Bottle – The Gentle Transformation of Miller Theater

Many of you who are reading this know Miller Theater in ways that newcomers will never be able to experience.  Those memories are precious in a host of ways that also are important to the future legacy of the Miller Theater.

My fresh experience is of a Miller Theater poised on the threshold of new vitality.  I will not forget entering through the Broad Street entrance and the trekking up the entry lobby – a short walk but a long journey through rich memories that the building seems eager to share.  I wasn’t prepared for the feeling of opening the temporary plywood ‘door’ and being greeted by brilliant sunshine pouring in through the glass block window at the far end of the inner foyer!  Nor was I prepared for the openness of that inner foyer to the audience chamber.  This was a movie house where audiences could enter at any time in the course of a film, but before they could even think of finding a seat, their eyes had to become accustomed to the darkness and their sense of demeanor to the propitious moment to sidle into an available seat.  It is no small challenge to turn a movie theater into a full-fledged concert hall.

With the sun flooding into the space, one still wanted to pause, just to take in the whole character of the theater and the inter-relationships of foyer to main floor seating, foyer to mezzanine and mezzanine to balcony entries and balcony to the whole of the space.  Inviting, complex, compelling and perplexing all at the same time – and in that order!

The perplexing part was the nagging feeling that Miller Theater wanted to be heard.  Not in the conventional sense of hearing, but in the sense that we needed to listen from a fresh perspective to what Miller Theater was telling us – its treasures and its secrets.  We needed to be open to its potential.

So, with open-minded, inquisitive ‘listening’ leading me through the theater, I kept questioning whether there could be a less invasive approach to this special space, one that would achieve a better result than any of us had considered.  Compelling and perplexing, indeed!

The answers began to emerge when a small group of musicians entered the stage and began to warm up their instruments.  With the chill of November in the air, this was no simple task.  But, within moments, their sound was warming the space and, happily, being warmed by the space.  Their sound was gorgeous!  Compelling and yet again perplexing …

It wasn’t until I listened to the music as I walked slowly from the open space in front of the balcony backward to the standing rail at the rear that I recognized Miller Theater is really one inter-connected acoustic space.  The lower seating level connects to the inner foyer which opens to the mezzanine that leads through the stair openings to the balcony and finally to the upper volume that draws the lower level seating into one large inter-connected acoustic volume.

One could listen to music being played on stage while walking slowly from the open space near the stage all the way back to the leaning rail and never lose the sense of fullness and connectedness with the musicians.  This was an extraordinary discovery.  I asked the maestro to join me in this journey, but with his eyes closed.  He listened carefully as we moved backwards from near the stage toward the rear.  When we were near the rear of the seating area, I told him to open his eyes.  My instruction was meant to be both literal and figurative…

The sound deep under the balcony was so nourished with sound reflected by the rear wall of the foyer and by the sound making its way through the balcony entry steps and mezzanine openness, that there was barely a change in quality from front to back under the balcony.  We ventured from the under-balcony through the foyer and up the grand stairs to the mezzanine and finally into the balcony, never losing the presence of beautiful musical sound.

Lest we were being misled by our own enthusiasms, I reminded everyone that we were experiencing the room in its most ‘live’ condition – without seated audience on the main floor and without audiences in the balcony seats.  The fundamental question was whether the musical quality that we were hearing would survive the presence of the people the project was meant to serve.  We had to know the answer to that question before we could proceed along any path.

To answer that critical question, we planned an al fresco in February ‘performance’ for an audience of brave and enthusiastic souls.  They were invited to bring themselves, their own chairs, blankets and pillows to create a surrogate ‘acoustic audience’ for the occasion.  This was planned so that we could hear the sound that might be expected if we were to work within the historic configuration of the Miller Theatre.

The test concert was a revealing experience.  We learned, to our collective delight, that the acoustical quality of the room was robust.  It retained its glow and acoustic warmth even with the presence of this brave and happy audience.  The overall all experience was very compelling… We parted later that day comfortable in the knowledge that the critical questions we had asked of Miller Theater were all answered in the affirmative.

Miller Theater does indeed have ‘good bones’ and extraordinary potential.  We learned that its transformation will demand attention to excellence, but not extravagance to achieve.  Most importantly, through the vision and commitment of all involved in this endeavor, current and future generations will experience very special performances in a very special space – rich with old memories and eager to create new ones.

 

 

Larry Kirkegaard

Kirkegaard Associates

July 22, 2013

Morris Museum and Miller

Stacy Sikes 1st

PR Contacts:

Nicole McLeod

706-828-3815 I nicole.mcleod@themorris.org

Jennifer Voth

706-826-4704 I jenniferv@soaugusta.org

 

Miller Theater Smartphone Photo Contest Winners Announced

AUGUSTA, GA, (NOVEMBER 2013): The Morris Museum of Art and Symphony Orchestra Augusta (SOA) partnered with the Miller Theater on the smartphone photo contest and exhibition, Snapshots of Time: Images of the Historic Miller Theater, which documented the Downtown Augusta theater. More than sixty-three photos were submitted, and all submissions were displayed in the Morris Museum’s Education Gallery October 1—20. The public was able to vote on their favorite photographs, and the following individuals are being recognized for submitting the top photographs:

First Place: Stacy Sikes

Second Place: Stephen Smith

Tied for Third Place: Trey Keenan and Debby Ellis

Winners received prizes ranging from a membership to the Morris Museum of Art to SOA performance tickets.

The Morris Museum of Art was founded in 1985 and opened to the public in 1992. It is the oldest museum in the country that is devoted to the art and artists of the American South. The museum’s permanent collection of five thousand works of art, dating from the late-eighteenth century to the present, represents every aspect of the region’s visual culture. The Morris is open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., and on Sunday, noon–5:00 p.m. For more information about the Morris Museum of Art, visit www.themorris.org or call 706-724-7501.

 

Now entering its 59th season, SOA pursues its mission “to share the joy of great musical performance with our audience—together we are music” by offering annual symphonic, Pops, and chamber concerts that attract 15,000 people each year. SOA’s six-concert Symphony Series, held at First Baptist of Augusta, presents a range of traditional repertoire as well as contemporary orchestral music. The four-concert Pops! at the Bell Series, held at Bell Auditorium in downtown Augusta, annually showcases Grammy Award-winning stars, local favorites, and international performers. The three-concert Columbia County Music Series, held at Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center in Evans, features exceptional chamber ensembles from around the world. Via its education and community engagement programs, SOA additionally extends its reach to communities throughout a 75-mile radius from Augusta, serving approximately 23,000 youth and adults each year. The annual budget is $1.3 million. The SOA serves a population of 500,000 in the Central Savannah River Area encompassing 15 counties in two states (GA & SC).

In January 2012, SOA started a campaign to renovate the historic Miller Theater and its adjacent property, 710 Broad Street, into a new center for symphonic music, the performing arts, and arts education in downtown Augusta. To be completed in 2015, the new Miller will comprise a 1,300-seat concert hall; a Music Institute; and a full range of public amenities. By creating a new and exciting cultural destination in a currently underutilized area of the city, the Miller project will contribute to ongoing civic efforts to revitalize downtown Augusta, for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.

*Top Image caption: Photograph by First Place Winner, Stacy Sikes

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Angela Maskey

Diane and Roger are the quintessential cultural couple.  They absolutely adore music, dances or plays; whenever they can snag a chance for quality entertainment in the southeast, they’re on it. Diane is interesting to engage in conversation on the topic of theater, as she has such a vast range of experiences from which to draw.  She can intelligently expound on the nuances of seeing “Wicked” at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, or any of the avant-guard productions often staged at Augusta’s Le Chat Noir. So when Diane tells you something about theater life, you can take it to the bank.

Recently Roger, Diane and I shared a table at a dinner meeting with Levi Hill IV, chair of the revitalization of the Miller Theater and featured speaker of the evening. During dinner, before Levi’s presentation, Diane told us stories of various productions they had seen and how the experience was enhanced (or not) by the space in which the show took place. “If you’ve been in an historic theater, ” she told us, “nothing else compares.” She knows that the same performance in a space with an old soul will have an entirely different flavor from the same show in a new, sterile building. The thing that Diane understands implicitly is that the venue is an integral part of any production. Much like the City of New York in the TV series “Sex and the City”, the location is considered to be one of the characters. New York is one of the stars of the show in the same way an historic theater plays a pivotal role in the patron’s experience at any performance in that space. The theater is a character with a unique persona, and when that character has been around awhile, a show becomes more interesting.

Once Levi began to speak, it was clear that he agreed with Diane.  In the minutes that followed, Levi unwound a magnificent tale of Augusta’s historic Miller theater as a unique space with a special soul. He said that the Miller is a character, one he calls “The Grand Dame of Augusta”. Levi tells us the Grand Dame is calling us back-she wants to perform again. He captivated the dinner crowd of 100 with the Grand Dame’s story, and explained why the mission of letting her perform again is so important to our community.

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At one time in Augusta, there were 15 theaters between 7th and 9th streets downtown. In one of them, the Grand Opera House on 8th street, a young man named Frank Miller worked around the turn of the century. Frank loved the theater so much that he went to New York to pursue acting. Upon his return to Augusta, he decided to get into the theater management business, starting with theaters owned by outside companies. In 1933 he entered into a partnership with Arthur Lucas to invest in theater ownership. At the age of 51, at a time when life expectancy was late 40’s, Frank engaged Roy Benjamin to build a dream theater, grand in scale, elegant in style, and nothing like Augusta had seen before. The Miller would be much more than the sum of her parts, including one mile of neon tube lighting, shiploads of costly Italian marble and 200 tons of concrete. She would be worth more than the half-million dollars it cost to build her. She would be awe-inspiring, majestic and regal. The Grand Dame of Augusta would usher in over 40 years of music, movies and vaudeville shows, becoming a fabric of Augusta’s story, and a host to thousands of personal memories.

The Grand Dame slept for 30 years in dark neglect after her inevitable closing in 1984, and began losing hope as her roof leaked and her interior suffered from vandalism. Peter Knox IV came to her rescue in 2005 with a purchase, a new roof, and a dream of seeing her come back to life. He knew it would take a strong group with resources and vision to lead that effort, and offered it to Symphony Orchestra Augusta. Levi was recruited to assess the offer to make sure it was a good fit for SOA, and he led the organization through an intensive process of due diligence. After 5 consultants and 30 months of study, SOA knew all of the benefits and many of the risks.  One of the consultants told SOA it was “an audacious plan, but if you believe in it, it will happen.”  So they accepted Peter’s kind offer, created The Miller LLC , and the slow process of planning began.

Despite Levi’s gracious and poised demeanor, when he told us that the beginning years were immensely difficult, we could sense how much of a struggle this project has been and how much of his life it has consumed. The Grand Dame will not let him quit. Levi and his core team have overcome numerous obstacles, always coming back to one calling: “We have got to find a way to make this work.” Because I serve on Levi’s team, I can let you in on a little secret-the obstacles are still there, but they are better. Levi and his Grand Dame are tenacious, so I have no doubts about the success of this venture.  The vision truly is audacious: it is not just bringing the theater back to life, but doing so in a way that creates a cultural center. The center will be home to a wide range of artistic productions and music education programs. The Miller and her sister the Imperial will be an integral part of the resurgence of that section of Broad Street-a centerpiece to the entertainment district and cultural hub of the city. The Grand Dame is becoming more than she was before, as she re-awakens her former grandeur and integrates it with the building next door in a larger, unified space.

In his closing comments, Levi’s presentation takes on the spirit of a motivational speech, and anyone in the audience who has ever overcome enormous challenges can relate to his message. He told us that demons try to come out and scare him, but that he keeps his eyes on the vision, and his experiences keep telling him how very significant this theater could be for arts in Augusta.  “It has been an overwhelming and humbling experience,” he said. “The doubts and skepticism haunt me, but I hang on to the encouragement of the people who have faith in the project.” He told us that in the most difficult circumstances, you will likely have to journey very far before the answers become clear. You have no idea where the path will take you, only what the final outcome will be. “In many cases we had to travel to the end of the road to find the answer,” he explained. “Whenever we had to, that is exactly what we did.” And knowing Levi, I know that is what he will continue to do. The Grand Dame will accept nothing less. She has something to offer downtown Augusta; she is an acoustic gem with a powerful past and a stubborn spirit. I look forward to meeting this elegant character in future performances at the Miller, hopefully in a couple of years. In the meantime, I know she will charm the socks off of everyone who visits her, and she will encourage them to hold on to their memories of her past, and become a part of her future story.

Karin Gillespie

Taking Back the Miller by Karin Gillespie

When asked to blog about the Miller Theatre, I thought I’d never stepped foot inside. Then my mother reminded me that the two of us had gone to an event there in the eighties. Shortly afterward the building was shuttered and left to deteriorate.

I moved to Augusta in 1974 when I was fourteen and used to catch the bus from Daniel Village to downtown to browse at Davidson’s, buy Levis jeans and cords at Levy’s and eat lunch at Orange Julius. Back then, downtown was a happening place, the heartbeat of Augusta.

I also remember when the malls trundled into town in 1978 and reduced Broad Street to a ghost town of boarded up buildings, pawn shops and old cotton warehouses. Even as a teenager, I thought it was a shame that a vital part of our city had been abandoned.

Several years later downtown started coming back in fits and starts. There were failures (Shoppes of Port Royal anyone?) and successes (Artist Row, Riverwalk, and the entrepreneurial spirit of several brave business people). I remember attending one of the very first First Fridays, traveling from art gallery to art galley, sampling cheese cubes and jug wine and feeling very au courant and cosmopolitan.

Now in 2013, downtown hasn’t completely regained its former glory but it’s getting there. The arts are continually coaxing people back downtown, and the reconditioning of the Miller is a vital part of that process. Since I didn’t have many of my own treasured memories of the Miller’s former glory, I asked some people who did. One talked about seeing Lynyrd Skynrd back in 1973. (Free Bird!) Someone else mentioned standing in a long snaking line to see “A Hard Day’s Night” back in 1964.  Another person recalled seeing the world premiere of “Three Faces of Eve.”

I go downtown frequently and for years I’ve been used to the Miller with a blank marquis. Then in 2005, Peter Knox bought the building, and the message on the marquis read, “It’s time.”  Eight years later we can quit looking at our watches; it looks like the Miller will finally be waking up from its soggy and solitary hibernation.

Now I’m looking forward to seeing the neon sign lit up and announcing Augusta Symphony concerts and other art events. One day, too, I hope to see a line curving around the block comprised of eager people ready to fill one of the Southeast’s most beautiful theaters.

I intend to join that line and, perhaps twenty years from someone will say, “Please write a blog about your memories of the Miller.” And I will say, “What a grand, glorious place. So thrilled I was around to see its rebirth.”

Thomas W. Mesaros

Thomas W. Mesaros

President & CEO

The Alford Group

 

I can still remember my first visit to Augusta during February 2011.  I recall walking downtown looking for the Miller Theatre and trying to get a “feel” for what downtown Augusta was like and what it might become.  I walked through the downtown core, made my way to the River Walk, back to Board Street and stopped in front of the Miller to take it all in, and I wondered a bit about the Imperial Theatre right across the street.  There were not many people downtown that afternoon, though the day was sunny and relatively warm for February.

 

Prior to my walk through town, I had attended the West Augusta Rotary that meets at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church.  Of course everyone I meet during lunch wanted to know why I was visiting from Seattle and I mentioned that our firm, The Alford Group, was bidding to be the advisors on the fund raising side of the proposed Miller Theatre project.  I explained that first we would do a feasibility study, and if that provided some evidence that the funds could be raised, we would then advise the organizing “Miller Committee” on the potential campaign.  During the course of lunch, I receive some immediate feedback on the Symphony and on the Miller.  And like any community feedback, some comments where based on fact – and some were not so factually based.  On the whole, comments were positive seeing the opportunities to improve the downtown core and to provide a venue that would enhance the performance of the symphony orchestra as well as other potential artistic performers.

 

Since that first visit I have personally been to August probably 10 to 12 times.  Our firm was chosen to be the philanthropic advisors and we are pleased to be moving forward raising the funds necessary for the Miller Theatre “idea” to become a significant concert venue for the surrounding area.  On my most recent visit there, I walked from the Marriott Hotel to the Rooster’s Beak Restaurant to find some dinner.  Downtown was “a buzz” with activity as people were coming and going into eating establishments and other shops along the Broad Street corridor.  When I got to the Rooster’s Beak it was packed with people – so much so that I had to go next door to the Bee’s Knees to find a place to eat (when I left the Bee’s Knees about an hour later it too was packed with people.  On a side note – both places have great food!!)  The New Miller Theatre will only add to and enhance the vibrancy I experienced that evening.

 

Augusta is a city in transformation.  This is probably obvious to all of you – but it has become obvious to me over the past 2 years.  The new Kroc Center, the new conference center by the Marriott Hotel, the creation of Georgia Regents University Augusta, and now the new Miller Theatre are all certainly adding to the quality of life for all your citizens.  Having entertainment venues like the midsize Miller, the smaller Imperial and the larger Bell Auditorium are important for the economic vitality of any city, and the success of the Miller Theatre will add to the success that is happening elsewhere throughout Augusta.

 

Augustans are making wonderful investments for future generations and it is my good fortunate to be involved, in a small way, in this wonderful project working with significant community leaders. These leaders are giving energy and resources so that this project will become a reality; and with their investments, and the investments of others, the Miller Theatre will come back to life.  Join with them in this investment – and the returns will continue to multiply for many years to come.

 

 

 

The Alford Group is a national consulting firm with offices in Seattle, Chicago and Boston.  Tom Mesaros has been with the firm since 1995 and became its President & CEO in 2003.  Working with him on Miller Theatre project, as the lead consultant, is Amy Hines from Newburgh, NY who is a Senior Vice President with the firm.

Contact Miller Theater Restoration Project