The Music Hall Story
By Rev. Ian Sloan
There are at least two strands to The Music Hall story, and I can only really offer an account of one. The other strands are out there. People will weave them in.
The strands I know of are the City of Hamilton Music Strategy strand and the New Vision United Church strand.
New Vision United Church is a new church in downtown Hamilton that began life in 2014 at the end of the life of two other churches that had run their course – St. Giles United Church and Centenary United Church. New Vision was given the two properties that belonged to the now completed St. Giles and Centenary. The image of the phoenix is apt for what happened.
The Centenary building where the Music Hall is located has a monumental quality to it. New Vision was not into it as a monument. That didn’t fit.
Because this monumental, prospective heritage designated building stood on the property, property redevelopment was going to be difficult. Nonetheless, the church has a mission, and it is not being a building heritage society. So if there was no use for the building that could fit what New Vision wanted to become, then New Vision was willing to bring the building down and build something that referenced the old landmark but had an economic viability the current building could not promise.
As New Vision was figuring all this out, the JUNOs came to town. Joel Plaskett and Terra Lightfoot played the space. Lights went on in the Hamilton music community. For years the city has been without a mid-sized performance venue – a venue that could sit from 500-1000 people. Here it was. And the owners – New Vision – were looking for partners to make it available to the community in new terms – like, say, The Music Hall!
The Hamilton music community told New Vision it was interested, and New Vision came out to talk. Now everyone involved is well beyond talk, and we’re looking for others to join in.