Saenger Theatre | In Your Own Backyard | WSRE

Saenger Theatre | In Your Own Backyard | WSRE


>>THIS ORIGINAL WSRE PRESENTATION IS MADE POSSIBLE BY VIEWERS LIKE YOU. THANK YOU.>>SHE’S KNOWN AS THE “GRAND DAME OF PALAFOX”. FOR MORE THAN 90 YEARS SHE HAS SERVED AS A CENTERPIECE OF CIVIC PRIDE AND A SHOW PLACE OF THE LIVELY ARTS. SHE’S THE HISTORIC SAENGER THEATRE AND IF YOU HAPPEN TO FIND YOURSELF IN DOWNTOWN PENSACOLA, YOU’LL DISCOVER HER, RIGHT IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD. ♪♪>>IT’S THE HOLIDAY SEASON AND AT THE SAENGER THEATRE, IT’S GETTING CLOSE TO SHOW TIME. TONIGHT’S PERFORMANCE IS SOLD OUT AND THE BUILDING IS BEGINNING TO FILL UP. IN SHOW BIZ LINGO A THEATER IS A HOUSE AND IN THE FRONT OF THE HOUSE, THE LOB DITHAT IS, TICKET SUPERVISOR GENE MARIE JONES IS READY TO WELCOME THE PUBLIC AND TA TAKE TEAR TICKETS. SHE’S THE FIRST FACE PEOPLE SEE AS THEY ARRIVE. AND FOR HER, THE SAENGER IS NOT SO MUCH A HOUSE, AS IT IS A HOME.>>I HAVE BEEN HERE 29 YEARS, WILL BE 30 COME FEBRUARY. THESE PEOPLE ARE MY EXTENDED FAMILY, THAT’S THE WAY IT IS FOR ALL OF US, WE JUST ONE BIG FAMILY. ♪♪>>AN HOUR BEFORE THE EVENING’S EVENT THE DOORS TO THE AUDITORIUM REMAIN CLOSED AS THE PENSACOLA CHILDREN’S CHORUS TAKES THE STAGE TO DO A QUICK TOUCH UP REHEARSAL. THANKS TO RENOVATIONS AND EXPANSIONS, THERE’S PLENTY OF ROOM IN THE ONCE CRAMPED LOBBY FOR PATRONS TO ENJOY EACH OTHER’S COMPANY. THERE’S ROOM AS WELL FOR PRESHOW GATHERINGS IN THE ADJACENT CONFERENCE AREAS. ON THIS DECEMBER EVENING THE CHILDREN’S CHORUS WILL APPEAR WITH THE PENSACOLA SIMILAR PHONY ORCHESTRA, JOINED BY A SPECIAL GUEST WHO GOT HER START WITH A CHORUS AND SYMPHONY ON STAGE BACK IN THE 1990s. BROADWAY STAR ASHLEY BROWN HAS COME HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS.>>IT’S AMAZING, BRINGS BACK SO MANY MEMORIES OF MY CHILDHOOD SINGING WITH THE CHILDREN’S CHORUS, I PERFORMED MY HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL HERE, IT’S WHAT IT’S ABOUT TO REMEMBER WHERE YOU COME FROM AND WHO YOU ARE, IT’S SPECIAL TO BE IN THESE SAME HALLS.>>WITH THE REHEARSAL COMPLETED THE CHILDREN EXIT THE STAGE. EXCITEMENT IS IN THE AIR AD THE AUDIENCE ENTERS THE GRANDE THEATER SPACE. IT’S NOT JUST ANTICIPATION OF ENJOYING WORLD-CLASS HOME GROWN TALENT IN LIVE PERFORMANCE, IT’S ALSO THE EXPERIENCE OF THE SAENGER HERSELF. WHEN THE THEATER FIRST OPENED IN THE 1920s, DOWNTOWN PENSACOLA WAS THE FOCAL POINT OF COMMUNITY LIFE AND CULTURE. ORNATE AND ARCHITECTURALLY MAGNIFICENT, THE SPANISH BAROQUE SAENGER RIVALED THE OPULENCE OF THE PENSACOLA OPERA HOUSE, A FAMOUS 19th CENTURY STRUCTURE THAT HAS BEEN DEMOLISHED A FEW YEARS EARLIER. APPROPRIATELY ENOUGH, SALVAGE MATERIALS FROM THE OLD OPERA HOUSE WERE USED WHEN THE SAENGER WAS BUILT AND MOVIE PALACE AND VAUDEVILLE STAGE. THE FORTUNES OF BOTH CITY AND SAENGER WAXED AND WANED DURING THE MANY DECADES THAT FOLLOWED. BUT NOW, IN THE EARLY 21st CENTURY, THE DOWNTOWN AREA IS ONCE AGAIN VIBRANT AND FULL OF LIFE. THE “GRAND DAME OF PALAFOX,” “LADY SAENGER” HERSELF HAS LED THE WAY REVITALIZING THE URBAN CORE. OCCASIONS SUCH AS THIS EVENING PROVIDE THOUSANDS WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO CELEBRATE. ♪♪ IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR ♪♪ ♪♪ EVERYONE TELL YOU BE OF GOOD CHEER ♪♪ ♪♪ IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR ♪♪>>AT A TIME OF YEAR WHEN MANY BUSINESSES SLOW DOWN, THE PACE OF SHOW BUSINESS CAN BE ALMOST FANATIC. TYPICALLY THE SAENGER DECEMBER SCHEDULE IS JAM PACKED.>>THERE’S A LOT THAT GOES ON BEHIND THE SCENES TO MAKE IT COME TOGETHER. EARLIER IN THE MONTH WE CAUGHT UP WITH THE MAN IN CHARGE OF ENSURING THAT IT ALL HAPPENS SMOOTHLY. IT’S A BUSY DAY AT THE SAENGER THEATRE SO YOU MAY HEAR A LITTLE SET CONSTRUCTION GOING ON IN THE BACKGROUND, ALWAYS, ALWAYS BUSY AROUND HERE, AND DOUG LEE CERTAINLY KNOWS THAT AS HE’S BEEN WITH THE SAENGER FOR THE BETTER PART OF FOUR DECADES. HE’S REALLY TRULY WORKED HIS WAY UP THROUGH THE RANKS SO TO SPEAK AND HAS BEEN GENERAL MANAGER FOR MANY YEARS. WELCOME, DOUG.>>WELCOME, SHERRI.>>WE HAVE A SHOW COMING IN.>>THE SAENGER WORKS A LOT OF EVENT DAYS BUT IN BETWEEN ALL THOSE EVENT DAYS ARE THE SET UP DAYS. TODAY WE’RE SETTING UP FOR SOME EVENTS COMING UP THIS WEEKEND. TYPICALLY WE’RE BUSY ABOUT 360 DAYS A YEAR.>>DOUG IS PROBABLY SAFE TO SAY MOST PEOPLE THAT COME TO SEE A PERFORMANCE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT GOES IN TO THAT, WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE A PERFORMANCE HAPPEN HERE?>>THERE’S NOT A — A LOT OF MIND THE SCENES THINGS THAT GO ON HERE. THE SAENGER HAS ABOUT 200 LIGHTING INSTRUMENTS ALL ABOUT A THOUSAND WATTS A PIECE SO THERE’S 200,000 WATTS OF LIGHT THAT COME IN, ENOUGH TO POWER A PRETTY GOOD SIZE RESIDENTIAL BLOCK OF HOMES. AS WELL AS SOUND EQUIPMENT, SCENERY, ORCHESTRA SHELL AND BASIC LIGHT AND OTHER BROADWAY SHOWS THAT COME IN, FOUR OR FIVE LARGE SEMITRUCKS THAT HAVE TO BE LOADED, SCENERY COSTUMES, LIGHTING AND SOUND SO IT CAN BE ANYTHING FROM A FEW HOURS TO SET UP WITH SYMPHONY TO ALL DAY WITH CREW OF 40 TO 60 MEN.>>THAT WOULD BE FOR A BIG BROADWAY SHOW.>>YES.>>AND THERE WAS A DAY THAT THESE TRUCKS DIDN’T EVEN HAVE PLACE REALLY TO PULL IN TO. THAT’S BEEN IMPROVED AND MODERNIZED.>>BEFORE THE MOST RECENT RENOVATION, WE BASICALLY HAD TO UNLOAD ALL THE TRUCKS ON TO THE SIDEWALK AND THEN ROLL EVERYTHING INTO THE BUILDING.>>SOME OTHER THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN IMPROVED, THE CHILDREN’S CHORUS, SO MANY CHILDREN, THAT USED TO HAVE TO BE BUSSED UP TO ONE OF THE LOCAL CHURCHES TO CHANGE. HOW HAS THAT CHANGED?>>WE WERE ACTUALLY ABLE TO ADD AN ADDITIONAL 30,000 SQUARE FEET OF BUILDING NEXT TO THE SAENGER ON THE SOUTH END. THAT INCLUDED TEN NEW DRESSING ROOMS AND WARDROBE SPACES AND SOME BACKSTAGE AREAS JUST TO HAVE A PLACE TO PUT THE KIDS WHEN THEY WEREN’T ON STAGE.>>TELL US ABOUT THE HISTORY, IF IF YOU WOULD, BACK MANY THE 20s HOW UNUSUAL WAS IT FOR SOMEBODY TO BE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE A MAGNIFICENT THEATER LIKE THIS?>>THINK ABOUT HISTORY OF PENSACOLA, PENSACOLA WASN’T A REAL BIG TOWN BACK MANY THE ’20s. SO A BUILDING LIKE THIS WAS PRETTY UNUSUAL IN THE WORLD OF PENSACOLA, AT THE TIME. THE SANG EVERY WAS OPENED APRIL 2ND, 1925, BUILT BY THE SAENGER AMUSEMENT COMPANY AS NEW BUILD THEATER. THE ADVANTAGER AMUSESMENT COMPANY DID RENOVATIONS OF THEATER AND TURNED THEM INTO VAUDEVILLE HOUSES AND DID NEW BUILDS. BACK IN THE DAY THE SAENGER AMUSEMENT COMPANY RAN THE BUILDING THEMSELVES THEY HIRED GROUPS OF CONTACTS AND STAGGER THEM ONE — ACTS AND STAGGER ONE DAY APARTERS SO ONE DAY IN MOBILE THEN GET ON THE TRAIN AND COME TO PENSACOLA THE NEXT DAY AND ROTATED THE ACTS AROUND TO THE VARIOUS WHICH BUILDINGS. THE THEATER OPEN TO A SOLD OUT HOUSE, WE LIKE THOSE. THEY HAD LOCAL TALENT THEN THEY HAD THE FIRST SILENT MOVIE IN THE THEATER, IT WAS THE TEN COMMANDMENTS BUT THE SILENT VERSION NOT THE ONE WE ALL THINK OF TODAY WITH CHARLES TON HESTON, THIS WAS AN EARLIER VERSION.>>SO WENT THROUGH THE SILENT MOVIER RA INTO THE TALKING.>>WE, THE THEATER AT THE TIME, WENT THROUGH A PERIOD OF GRADUATING TO TALKIES AND THEN INTO THE BIG MUSICALS, AND THEN — IN THE ’40s, PARTICULARLY DURING WORLD WAR II, THE THEATER RAN 24 HOURS DAY TO PROVIDE A SOURCE OF NEWS, BECAUSE RADIO WAS THE ONLY OTHER NEWS OUTLET OF THE NEWSPAPER. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE NAVY YARD AT THE TIME WAS RUNNING IN THREE SHIFTS SO PEOPLE WERE WORKING 24 HOURS A DAY AND SO THE THEATER OPENED ALSO 24 HOURS A DAY SO PEOPLE THAT WORKED IN SHIFTS COULD ACTUALLY GO AND HAVE ENTERTAINMENT TO HELP WITH MORAL DURING THE THE WAR. THEN EVENTUALLY AS DOWNTOWN BEGAN TO GET A LITTLE TIRED AND THE MALLS OPENED UP IN THE LATE ’60s, EARLY ’70 ET CETERA, THE THEATER AND MOST OF DOWNTOWN WENT INTO A PERIOD OF DECLINE AND STARTED SHOWING NOT REALLY FIRST RUN MOVIES, AND IN FACT SOME WE DON’T LIKE TO TALK ABOUT ANY LONGER. THEN BASICALLY THE THEATER FELL INTO DISREPAIR AN ABC THEATERS DECIDED TO DONATE PROPERTY TO THE CITY. AND THE CITY ORIGINALLY INTENDED TO MAKE THE PROPERTY INTO A PARKING GARAGE. FORTUNATELY THERE WAS A GROUP OF CITIZENS THAT GOT TOGETHER AND SAID THIS IS A GREAT SPACE HAS SOMETHING NOWHERE ELSE IN TOWN HAS, A PIPE ORGAN. AND THAT ORGANIZATION GOT TOGETHER, ASKED THE CITY FOR THE PIPE ORGAN AND THE CITY SAID SURE, TAKE IT. WE’RE GOING TO TEAR THE BUILDING DOWN ANYWAY. THEY WENT BACK TO THE CITY AND SAID THERE’S NO OTHER PLACE TO PUT IT, IT’S SUCH A HUGE MUNIFICENT INSTRUMENT THAT THERE’S NO OTHER PLACE IN TOWN TO PUT IT SO WE NEED TO KEEP THE BUILDING, THIARA ARELY IS WHAT STARTED THE CITIZENS DRIVE — THAT STARTED THE CITIZENS DRIVE TO KEEP THE SAENGER ALIVE AND FALL UNDER THE WRECKING BALL.>>THAT WAS A ROBERT MORTON THEATER ORGAN AS MUCH>>THE ORGAN HERE IS A ROBERT MORTON DESIGNED CON CONSOLE, IT’S A HUGE INSTRUMENT, ONE OF THE FINEST IN THE SOUTHEAST AND FRIENDS OF THE SAENGER RECENTLY BEEN WORKING ON RESTORING THAT ORGAN BACK TO ITS ORIGINAL GLORY AND ADDING ADDITIONAL THINGS TO IT AS WELL.>>AND TAKE ME FROM 1981, THE SAENGER WAS RENOVATED TO S TENT. THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT — TO S TENT. THAT WAS THE YEAR THE SAENGER WAS OFFICIALLY REOPENED?>>E WE ARE — OPENED, SEPTEMBER 6TH 1981 WITH THE DUKE ELLINGTON ORCHESTRA.>>BUT DIDN’T SHE START TO BE USED FOR THINGS OTHER THAN HAS BEEN ORIGINALLY INTENDED AND HOW WAS THAT ADDRESSED?>>IN 1981, THE THEORY WAS THAT WE WOULD BE DOING A LOT OF COMMUNITY THEATER. AND THINGS THAT WOULD BE PRODUCED LOCALLY. AS WE GREW, WE STARTED DOING MORE AND MORE TOURING SHOWS, FULL BROADWAY SERIES, AND CONCERTS AND THINGS LIKE THAT, THAT NEEDED MORE PRODUCTION SPACE THAN A LOCAL SHOW DOES. IN ADDITION OUR LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS GREW. THE PENSACOLA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA WHICH IS ONE OF THE OLDEST IN THE NATION, IT NEEDED MORE THINGS TO SUPPORT ITS QUALITY. ON ORCHESTRA SHELL THAT WAS REFLECTING THE SOUND FROM STAGE OUT TO THE AUDIENCE, BEFORE THAT ALL THE CURTAINS ABOVE THE STAGE ABSORBED A LOT OF SOUND AND YOU DIDN’T HEAR THE SYMPHONY TO THE FULLEST. WE ALSO DEVELOPED AN OPERA COMPANY IN PENSACOLA, IT HAS GROWN CONSIDERABLY AND NEEDED MORE THINGS THAT THE SAENGER COULDN’T DO BACK THEN, WE JUST DIDN’T HAVE A BIG ENOUGH ORCHESTRA FIT, WE DIDN’T HAVE ANYWHERE TO PUT SETS BACKSTAGE, THE DRESSING ROOMS, THOSE THINGS NEEDED TO BE DONE. SO A FEW YEARS AGO A GROUP OF CITIZENS GOT TOGETHER AGAIN WITH THE FRIENDS OF THE SAENGER AND RAISED $15 MILLION WITH HELP OF THE COUNTY AND THE CITY. GRANTS AND OTHER DONATIONS AND DID A MAJOR RENOVATION AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION TO THE THEATER AND THEN WE REOPENED ABOUT FIVE YEARS AGO.>>DOUG, I’M SURE THERE’S OTHER THINGS WE’LL WANT TO COME BACK TO IN THIS CONVERSATION BUT MAYBE WE’LL GET A CHANCE TO WALK AROUND AND SEE A FEW OF THE THINGS WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT.>>THAT SOUNDS GREAT.>>DOUG, THE VIEW FROM UP HERE IS MAGNIFICENT, REALLY SOMETHING NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE WILL SEE. UNLESS THEY ARE PLANNING TO OPERATE THE LIGHT BOOTH UP HERE. LET’S TALK ABOUT WHAT GOES ON IN THIS AREA OF THE THEATER.>>THIS AND OTHER ROOMS LIKE IT ARE SCATTERED THROUGHOUT THE THEATER. THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS THIS IS THE LIGHTING CONTROL STATION FOR OUR STAGE LINING, THIS IS WHERE WE CONTROL THE 200 LIGHTS WE WERE TALKING ABOUT. THE OPERATOR WOULD SIT HERE DURING THE SHOW, AND MANIPULATE ALL THE LIGHTING, EITHER IN A LIVE SETTING WITH THE CONTROLS HERE, OR IN PRE-RECORDED THING LIKE MOST BROADWAY SHOWS ARE HAVE WHERE LIGHTS ARE RIGGED INTO A COMPUTER PROGRAM AND PLAYED BACK AT THE MOMENT IN TIME DURING THE SHOW.>>DOUG, ANOTHER VIEW THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE IS THE VIEW FROM THE STAGE. I KNOW THERE ARE A NUMBER OF EVENTS THAT ARE HELD UP HERE FROM TIME TO TIME TO GIVE PEOPLE THAT OPPORTUNITY. LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS MAGNIFICENT STAGE, THE PLACE THAT MOST OF THE PERFORMERS WILL SEE, THAT MOST OF THE AUDIENCE WILL NOT SEE.>>WE’RE SEEING REALLY AT A TIME MOST PEOPLE DON’T GET TO SEE IT. THAT’S WHEN THERE’S NOT ACTUALLY A SHOW GOING ON. AND WE’RE SETTING UP FOR THE NEXT ONE. THERE’S A LOT OF THINGS HERE THAT ARE REALLY NEED BENEATH TO KNOW LIKE THIS FLOOR IS THE ORIGINAL 1925 HARD WOOD FLOOR INSTALLED WHEN THE BUILDING WAS FIRST BUILT. THE PORTION THAT’S JUST IN FRONT OF US IS ACTUALLY HARD WOOD DESIGNED FOR TAP DANCING. AND THEN THE AREA THAT’S BACK A LITTLE FURTHER IS MADE OF SOFT WOOD, THAT’S BECAUSE SOMETIMES SCENERY IS ATTACHED TO THE FLOOR USING STAGE CREWS. THERE’S HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF SHOWS IN HERE, WITH ALL KINDS OF BIG HEAVY OBJECTS, EVERYTHING FROM BALLET DANCERS TO ELEPHANTS HAVE BEEN ACROSS THIS FLOOR.>>RIGHT NOW WE HAVE AN ORCHESTRA SHELL GOING IN.>>THIS SHELL THAT YOU SEE GOING IN, IS ACTUALLY ALL THE AREAS IN THE BACK OF THE THEATER THE SOUND WOULD BESORBED IN, SO IT’S FOCUSED TO THE AUDIENCE AND ALLOW THE PLAYERS TO HEAR THEMSELVES BETTER FROM THE PERSON ON THIS SIDE OF THE STAGE TO THE ONE ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE STAGE CAN HEAR THEMSELVES BETTER BECAUSE OF THE SHELL AND THE CEILING THAT’S INSTALLED. THE CEILING BY THE WAY IS ABOUT 6,000 POUNDS ABOVE THE ORCHESTRA’S HEAD AND AFTER THE SYMPHONY IS GONE WE’LL TAKE THAT DOWN AND STORE IT IN THE BACK.>>THE CURTAINS, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF CURTAINS, THE MAIN CURTAIN HAD TO BE REPLACED.>>WE DID INDEED REPLACE THE MAIN CURTAIN, BUT BEFORE THE RENOVATION IT WAS STILL THE ORIGINAL CURTAIN FROM 1925. UNFORTUNATELY AFTER THAT MANY YEARS IT WAS THREADBARE AND WOULDN’T HOLD UP UNDER ITS OWN WEIGHT SO IT HAD TO BE REPLACED BUT WE SAVED THE BOTTOM GOLD FRINGE FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION.>>THAT’S GREAT. THEN THERE’S RIGGING.>>ABOVE US IS 62 FEET OF AIR SPACE IN WHICH THE BACKDROPS WHEN YOU SEE IT COME DOWN THE STAGE IT FILLS WHAT YOU CAN SEE, BUT WHEN THAT BACKDROP DROP GOES AWAY THERE HAS TO BE CEILING ABOVE FOR IT TO GO ALL THE WAY UP AND GO OUT OF SITE. SO THERE’S 62 FEET ABOVE US ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP OF THE GRID.>>YOU TALKED ABOUT A BIG RENOVATION AND ADDITION THAT HAPPENED BACK 2008 OR SO.>>ONE THING WE TALKED IS HOW SMALL IT WAS IN THE THEATER. THIS IS THE EDGE OF THE STAGE IT CAME A FEW FEET THEN YOU WERE AT THE WALL. THERE WAS NOWHERE TO GO SO IN THIS RENOVATION WE ADDED THIS SPACE WE’RE TALK WALKING INTO AND IT PROVIDED PLACE THE ACTORS ONCE YOU LEAVE THE STAGE AND YOU’RE MAKING THE LEAP OFF, THE DANCER YOU HAD SOMEWHERE TO GO, BECAUSE OTHERWISE YOU LEAPED OFF AND HIT THE WALL SO WE PROVIDED A SPACE HERE, IT ALSO THEN ALLOW US TO BUILD NEW DRESSING ROOMS, FOR THE PERFORMERS WITH — THEY’RE ALL RESTROOM SHOWER EQUIPPED, ALL UP TO THE CURRENT STANDARDS THAT ARE NECESSARY FOR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMERS.>>THIS IS A SPACE FOR THE TRUCKS TO PULL IN? WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE?>>BEHIND US AS WELL IN ADDITION TO PROVIDING SPACE FOR ACTORS WE PROVIDE A SPACE TRUCKS COULD BACK UP UNDERCOVER AND UNLOAD TWO AT TIME WITHOUT HAVING TO DUMP EVERYTHING ON THE SIDEWALK AND TRY TO ROLL IT IN.>>WE HAPPEN TO BE HERE DURING THE LOVELY AND FESTIVE HOLIDAY SEASON. THIS AREA IN ITSELF HAS SOME HISTORY.>>IN 1995, WE UNDERTOOK A PROJECT WITH A FRIEND OF THE SAENGER TO EXPAND THE LOBBY SPACE, THE NEW TWO STORY LOBBY THAT INCORPORATES ADDITIONAL RESTROOMS, ADDITIONAL PRE-FUNCTION AREA AND ALSO SOME AREAS RECEPTIONS CAN BE HELD IN. WHEN WE DID THE RENOVATION A FEW YEARS AGO WE ADDED ADDITIONAL LOBBY ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE BUILDING AS WELL AS 3,000 SQUARE FOOT MEETING ROOM. GLYPH DOUG, WE TALKED EARLIER ABOUT THE GREAT SAENGER PIPE ORGAN, ITS EARLY HISTORY AND PROCESS THAT IT’S IN NOW. WHAT ARE WE LOOKING AT HERE?>>BEHIND US IS THE ACTUAL PIPE ORGAN CAMER ABOVE THE BOX SEAT, FRAMED OUT WALLED PLASTER WORK, THAT’S ACTUALLY WHERE THE SOUND IS GENERATED FROM THE ORGAN THROUGH THE PIPES THAT ARE IN THAT LARGE ROOM, AND THEN THE WIND GENERATED THAT ACTUALLY MAKES THE SOUND.>>THAT’S WHAT SAVED THE BUILDING FROM THE WRECKING BALL.>>THAT’S CORRECT.>>VERY INTERESTING. WE HAD A CHANCE TO TALK WITH SOME OF THE ORGAN BUILDERS ABOUT THE PROCESS THAT THEATER ORGAN UNDERGOES TO BECOME UP AND OPERATIONAL ONCE AGAIN. ♪♪ [APPLAUSE]>>IN APRIL OF THE THEATERS 90th YEAR THE GREAT SAENGER PIPE ORGAN ROSE DRAMATICALLY FROM THE ORCHESTRA PIT. THE EVENT MARKED A HIGH POINT, IN A MULTI-YEAR EFFORT TO REVIVE THE INSTRUMENT THAT HAD LITERALLY BEEN A PART OF THE SAENGER SINCE IT CAME INTO BEING.>>PIPE ORGANS ARE INTERESTING BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT JUST PLAYING THE INSTRUMENT, YOU’RE PLAYING THE BUILDING, THE BUILDING ITSELF AND ITS NATURAL ACOUSTICS ARE AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE SOUND THE ORGAN MADE SO THE ORGANIST IS PLAYING LITERALLY THE BUILDING. AND P SOMETIMES THE FLOORS WILL SHAKE, IT’S PART OF THE PERFORMANCE.>>A GROUP OF DONORS WERE SERENADED IN A PRIVATE PREMIER. IT WAS THE FRIENDS OF THE SAENGER’S WAY OF SHOWING APPRECIATION FOR THEIR INVALUABLE SUPPORT.>>THE RESTORATION OF THIS PARTICULAR ORGAN, THE PROCESS WAS FACED WITH TREMENDOUS GOALS.>>LARGE COMPONENTS SUCH AS PIPES AND WIND CHESTS WERE ACQUIRED AND REFURBISHED. THE MATERIALS WERE LOADED INTO THE SAENGER AND CARRIED UP TO THE ORGAN LOFT.>>WE DON’T HAVE LARGE OPENINGS IN CHAMBERS SO BASICALLY EVERY PIPE HAS BEEN CARRIED BY HAND FROM TRAYS OUT IN THE THEATER THROUGH THE SMALL OPENINGS AND WE ARE PIECE BY PIECE REBUILDING THIS ORGAN.>>THIS IS A PROCESS THAT DOES TAKE A LONG TIME, AND IT WILL BE FINE-TUNED AND UPDATED AND UPGRADED MULTIPLE TIMES.>>HEAVY PHYSICAL LABOR WAS INVOLVED AS WELL AS NO SMALL AMOUNT OF DARING AND CLIMBING THE SAENGER’S LADDERS AND NEGOTIATING THE CAT WALKS AD A DIZZYING HEIGHT ABOVE THE STAGE FLOOR. THE RESTORATION PROJECT HAS A BROAD BASE OF SUPPORT IN THE LOCAL MUSIC COMMUNITY.>>I’M SURE THERE’S A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO NEVER HEARD OF THAT’S RIGHTER ORGAN, IT CAN BE A TOURIST ATTRACTION BECAUSE IT’S UNIQUE, THERE JUST AREN’T MANY PLACES THAT HAVE A PLAYABLE THEATER ORGAN. THE CITY SHOULD BE VERY PROUD. THE OF THE FACT THAT THIS INSTRUMENT HAS NOT BEEN LOST. SO MANY OTHER TOWNS AND OTHER THEATERS HAVE LOST THESE GREAT INSTRUMENTS OF HISTORY. AND OURS, NOT ONLY HAS BEEN PRESERVED BUT NOW ACTUALLY EVEN IMPROVED TO THE POINT WHERE IT’S MAGNIFICENT INSTRUMENT.>>JUST A FEW WEEKS AFTER ITS PRIVATE PREMIERE THE PIPE ORGAN WAS FEATURED IN A MASTER WORKS PERFORMANCE OF THE ORGAN SYMPHONY.>>THE SAENGER THEATRE ITSELF HISTORIC THEATER IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF PENSACOLA, AND SO MANY THINGS HAVE HAPPENED, IT’S SUCH A RICH HISTORY AROUND THIS THEATER, IT’S JUST IN ITS PRIME RIGHT NOW SINCE THE BIG RENOVATION THAT HAPPENED A FEW YEARS AGO. IT’S BUSY AND BOOKED ALL THE TIME. BUT THIS ORGAN IS SUCH AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THE CONCEPT OF A THEATER OF THIS ERA AND THE KIND OF EVENTS THIS THEATER CAN BE HOSTING. AND SO GREAT AS THE RENOVATION IS, AND GREAT AS THE THEATER IS RIGHT NOW, THIS IS REALLY IN A SENSE CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT TO GET THIS ORGAN BACK INTO PLACE. ♪♪>>NOW WITH NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES, THE SAENGER WAS BUILT AT A COST OF $500,000. WHICH WAS REAL MONEY IN THE 1920s. THE BALCONY RESTS ON WHAT WOULD SAID AT THE TIME TO BE THE LARGEST GIRDER EVER BROUGHT INTO THE STATE OF FLORIDA. BUT IN CONSTRUCTING THE SAENGER, ANOTHER GREAT THEATER WAS GIVEN A RESURRECTION OF SORTS.>>ACTUALLY IN THE ’20s WHEN THE BUILDING WAS BUILT, THERE WAS REMNANTS OF THE PENSACOLA OPERA HOUSE THAT HAD BEEN DESTROYED BY A HURRICANE A FEW YEARS EARLIER. THEY RESALVAGED ALL OF THE BRICK AND USED IT FOR TWO-THIRDS OF THE BRICK THAT THE SAENGER IS MADE OF. SO WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE OUTSIDE OF THE BUILDING YOU WILL SEE ABOUT TWO-THIRDS OF THE WAY UP IT CHANGES COLOR, THAT’S BECAUSE THEY USED 1925 BRICK WHEN THEY RAN OUT OF THE ORIGINAL 1880s BRICK. IN ADDITION, THE BALCONY RAIL THE ORNAMENTAL IRON BALCONY RAIL YOU SEE IN THE THEATER NOW, ACTUALLY WAS RECLAIMED FROM THAT OPERA HOUSE. YOU KNOW IN THE ’20s, ARCHITECTURE IN THE U.S., THERE WAS A TREMENDOUS REVIVAL OF TRYING TO MAKE THINGS LOOK LIKE EUROPEAN PALACES AND THAT SORT OF THING. INDEED THEY DID THAT HERE BUT WITH A LITTLE BIT OF AMERICAN WHIMSY. LOOK THROUGH THE THEATER AND YOU WILL SEE VARIOUS WHAT LOOK LIKE WOOD CARVINGS OR STONE CARVINGS. THOSE ARE IN PLASTER RATHER THAN WOOD BUT PAINTED TO LOOK LIKE THEY’RE MUCH MORE STOUT. IF YOU LOOK AROUND THERE ARE VARIOUS FACES IN THE THEATER WHAT LOOKED LIKE A PICTURE OF A ROMAN SOLDIER WITH A ORNAMENT ON HIS HELMET. IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY, THAT ORNAMENT IS NOT ACTUALLY ANYTHING OTHER THAN A LIZARD ON HIS HEAD. THERE’S A LOT OF NICE FEATURES IN THE BUILDING THOUGH THAT ARE PRETTY SUBTLE, FOR EXAMPLE ALL THE CHANDELIERS IN HERE ARE TIFFANY GLASS, LEDDED GLASS. AND — LEADED GLASS, ALL ORIGIN FALL IN HERE AS WELL AS EXIT LIGHTS ARE TIFFANY GLASS. THEY SPEND TIME ON DETAILS THAT YOU DON’T SEE IN BUILDINGS TODAY. THE ELEMENTS OF THE BUILDING THAT APPEAR TO BE GOLD UP IN THE CEILING AND THAT AREA ARE GOLD LEAF. AS WELL BACK WHEN THE BUILDING WAS FIRST BUILT THE MOVIE SCREEN WE CALL THE SILVER SCREEN BECAUSE IT HAD EIGHT POUNDS OF SILVER DUST ON IT. WHEN THE BUILDING WAS BUILT THERE WAS NO AIR CONDITIONENING THE BUILDING AT ALL. THE ONLY VENTILATION SYSTEM WERE FANS MOUNTED ON THE ROOF THAT THEN PULLED AIR UP THROUGH THE SEATING AREA AND THEN EXHAUSTED IT UP TO THE ROOF. SO WHEN YOU LOOK UP AT THE CEILING IN THE THEATER NOW, YOU WILL SEE SOME KIND OF BASKET WEAVE LOOK VENTILATION AREAS, THOSE HAVE BEEN CONVERTED TO AIR CONDITIONING BUT ORIGINALLY THEY WERE EXHAUST VENTS.>>WHEN THE SAENGER WAS FIRST BUILT PENSACOLA WAS VERY MUCH PART OF THE OLD SOUTH AND REMAINED THAT WAY FOR DECADES.>>AS MOST THEATERS AND OTHER BUILDINGS IN THE ’20s, THE SAENGER WAS BUILT TO BE SEGREGATED. IT’S A VERY UNFORTUNATE PART OF OUR HISTORY BUT THAT’S THE WAY IT ACTUALLY WAS. THERE WAS A SEPARATE ENTRANCE ON THE SOUTH SAID OF THE BUILDING THAT VARIOUS ETHNIC GROUPS WERE REQUIRED TO USE. PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT WERE SENT THERE, CAJUN DESCENT WERE SENT THERE.>>WHEN I WAS GROWING UP IT WAS SEGREGATED. THE SAENGER WAS THE BEST THEATER FOR US TO ATTENDS, HOWEVER, THEY HAD SIGNED TO COME IN FROM THE SIDE DOOR AND WE OCCUPIED THE UPSTAIRS, UP PER BALCONY. ♪♪>>I THINK THE SAENGER IS GOING TO BE AROUND ANOTHER HUNDRED YEARS, AT LEAST IN OUR COMMUNITY. WE HAVE A COMMUNITY THAT LOVES THE ARTS, THAT SUPPORTS THE ARTS AND SEES A VALUE IN ARTS AND ARTS EDUCATION. I THINK AS LONG AS THE SAENGER IS SUPPLYING THAT LOCATION FOR THE ARTS TO FLOURISH WE HAVE A LONG AND PROSPEROUS HISTORY. ♪♪ ♪♪ OH, NIGHT, WHEN CHRIST WAS BORN ♪♪ ♪♪ OH, NIGHT DIVINE ♪♪>>IN MANY WAYS THE HOLIDAY CONCERT EMBODIES THE GROWTH AND EVOLUTION OF THE THEATER OVER THE BETTER PART OF A CENTURY. THE SAENGER’S EXPANSIONS AND RENOVATIONS NOT ONLY MEET THE NEEDS OF AN EXCELLENT AND THRIVING LOCAL ARTS COMMUNITY, BUT THEY ATTRACT BROADWAY LEVEL TALENT AS WELL. PENSACOLA SAENGER THEATRE HAS MORE THAN FILLED THE LEAD ROLE PLAYED BY THE OPERA HOUSE, THE CENTURY EARLIER, IT’S BEAUTIFUL SPACE WHERE CITIZENS CAN ASSEMBLE FOR A SPECTACLE OF SIGHT AND SOUND. [APPLAUSE]>>GETTING TO THE PENSACOLA SAENGER THEATRE IS EASY. FROM INTERSTATE 10 TAKE I-110 SOUTH TO THE CERVANTES EXIT, GO LEFT AND TAKE THE FIRST LEFT TO PALAFOX STREET, TRAVEL THE HILL DOWNTOWN AND GO ACROSS TOWARD GARDEN STREET AND IN A COUPLE OF BLOCKS YOU WILL SEE THE THEATER ON YOUR LEFT. PARKING IS AVAILABLE IN A VARIETY OF LOCATIONS. BUT THE NEARBY JEFFERSON STREET PARKING GARAGE IS ESPECIALLY CONVENIENT. WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED GETTING TO KNOW “LADY SAENGER,” “GRAND DAME OF PALAFOX,” WE’LL SEE YOU AGAIN NEXT TIME RIGHT IN YOUR IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD. ♪♪ ♪♪

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