The historic Symphony Hall theatre, built in the early 1900s, has been home to the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Broadway-style theatre, and has featured a variety of comedies, dramas, musicals, lectures, and shows. Symphony Hall hosts over 250 events a season during normal operations. Unable to operate during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Symphony Hall has undergone contemporary upgrades and general improvements over this past year, including new state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems.
The overall plan to renovate and improve this historic venue took shape last spring when a general bid was released following a lengthy design phase coordinated by the City of Springfield and involving Caolo & Bieniek Associates, 4Life Entertainment, and MGM.Improvements. The renovations, totaling $1.8 million, were successfully completed by local electrical contractor Collins Electric, and their associates, Down Right Productions and Klondike Sound LLC.
Improvements include theatrical upgrades to lighting and sound, which had not been replaced since the 1970s. Prior to this upgrade, lighting and sound equipment had to be rented and brought in for shows. With the improvements, state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment will be on-site, making Symphony Hall more accessible to a broader range of productions, as show managers will no longer need to rent costly sound and lighting equipment.
As the home of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra for the past seventy-six years, these improvements were designed and implemented to enhance their performances with theatrical lighting and enriched sound for their entertaining shows and will not disrupt their symphonic nature. In addition, the theatre was fully retrofitted with LED lights, new LVT flooring, new ceilings, new showers in individual dressing rooms, new LG Hi-Macs countertops, a new assisted listening device system, and security upgrades. Two custom dry bars for the distribution of refreshments during events were constructed, the floors were buffed, and the entire hall underwent a deep clean. Soon, Symphony Hall will be more than ready to accept visitors.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I am thrilled with the renovations at Symphony Hall. Our Springfield has a long and rich history as the arts, culture, and entertainment capital of Western Mass. We are lucky to have beautiful and historic facilities like Symphony Hall and the investment here is a game-changer for Springfield to attract the finest productions to our city. I am very proud of our Finance and Facilities teams who kept the project on track and on budget, as well as Eversource and our Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi and his crews for partnering to get this done. Throughout the pandemic, Springfield has continued to move forward, and this fall we are eager to host exceptional entertainment as we close the book on COVID 19.”
CAFO TJ Plante said, “This is a strategic investment into not only Symphony Hall but also in the economic recovery of our city. Being able to attract first-rate musicals, concerts, plays and other entertainment to Symphony Hall will only enhance Springfield’s attraction to our residents and visitors. We encourage our restaurants and other downtown business partners to continue to proceed with us as we explore all economic development opportunities. I’m very excited for this new chapter in Symphony Hall’s renowned history.”
Patrick Sullivan stated, “I am proud to be working with such a talented team. Jon Carignan and the Facilities trades staff have done a wonderful job in facilitating the improvements at Symphony Hall. Sheriff Nick Cocchi and his crews were instrumental in renovating dressing rooms and in various painting jobs throughout the facility. Eversource Energy responded with incentive funding to improve lighting throughout the complex. I’m very pleased with the restorative work completed in the splendid Mahogany Room. Springfield residents have great pride in their city and this room now reflects that pride. These improvements at Symphony Hall are long overdue and thankfully Mayor Sarno and the City Council made it a priority to fund this project. This will initiate a catalog of great shows and performances at Symphony Hall.”
Jon Carignan commented, “The city took full advantage of Symphony Hall’s downtime due to COVID to make additional improvements to the facility in the form of dressing room renovations. This work included a complete LED lighting retrofit, new LVT flooring, refurbished ceilings, restored showers in the dressing rooms, adding LG Hi-Macs countertops, making security upgrades, and installing an assisted listening device system. The city also constructed two custom dry bars for providing refreshments during events. Both the main stage and Mahogany Room floors were screened as well. This work was largely overseen by PBRM and supporting consultants.”