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Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Music Hall Moments



History improves Music Hall experience

Music Hall has been a link to Cincinnati's history for me. My grandfather, John J. Behle, was manager of Music Hall in the 1920s and early 1930s, and I grew up hearing how Music Hall was Cincinnati's first convention center.

I loved the stories he would tell me about the range of events he helped put on. There were home shows in which an actual house would be constructed inside Music Hall. There were boxing matches, car shows, and the huge Municipal and Industrial Exposition of 1935, a virtual world's fair of science, art and commerce. The program I have states: "Exhibiting every phase of city, county, state and federal government and public institutions."

He also had stories from the old-timers of his day telling of the national political conventions of the late 1800s and of Cincinnati hosting the presidential nominating conventions several times at Music Hall. There were people who still remembered the canal running behind the back of the building (where Central Parkway is now) and the smell of the stagnant water.

When I walk across the paving stones of Elm Street into Washington Park, seeing the front edifice of this landmark conjures up the horse-and-carriage elegance of 125 years ago. When I attend the opera and symphony, the music is made better by the poignancy of the history.

John W. Behle, Union

Ushering jobs led couple to wedding aisle

In the early '60s, we University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music students would go down to Music Hall an hour before symphony time and usher. For our efforts, we could take any unoccupied seat in the house.

It happened one evening that some young gentlemen from Xavier University and UC's College of Medicine were ushering also. After passing each other in the aisle many times, one of the boys asked to take me home after the concert. Our interest in music and each other matched very well, and for two more years, our dates usually were ushering and enjoying a symphony concert.

Thirty-five years ago we were married and, needless to say, we have been subscribers to the opera, CSO and Pops for more than 25 years. Recently, we have enjoyed having our son, a UC medical student, join us for the symphony concerts.

Mary E. Bramlage, Indian Hill

Screams prepped her for big performance

After having sung in the Opera Auxiliary Chorus for Aida (1995 and 2000), I was thrilled to be invited back in 2001 for the production of Nabucco.

On dress rehearsal night, the chorus was offstage during a scene change, waiting to take our places when we heard a blood-curdling scream. I could only think someone was being killed. In actuality, it was one of the stage crew having caught his hand in the hydraulic lift. Later, we learned that while it was certainly a serious injury, he would heal, but at the time it was terrifying. Mentally, we felt duly prepped for the sacrificial Va Pensiero scene which followed.

Sherry Brigger, Landen

Speaker collapse made concert-goers take note

My favorite of many memories at Music Hall took place in the late 1970s.

Jimmy Buffett, who had just started garnering attention with his platinum and gold releases, came to Cincinnati to perform on the venerable Music Hall stage.

His band was center stage, Jimmy was up front, and on both sides of the stage were speakers piled on top of one another. Suddenly, one of the speaker towers came tumbling down (luckily no one on stage or in the audience was hurt). However, it certainly made one to sit up and take notice.

Jerri Roberts, Wyoming

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Sir Bing was right; Music Hall best venue

Many years ago, I heard Sir Rudolph Bing, the general manager of the New York Metropolitan Opera from 1950 to 1972, lecture at Chautauqua Institution's huge amphitheater. After the lecture, he answered questions from the audience. One of the questions was, "If you had to choose the world's finest orchestra, conductor, music hall, which would you choose?

After a long pause he answered, "The world's finest orchestra? It's difficult to pick a favorite. Maybe I could narrow it down to three. The world's finest conductor? There are so many great conductors it's impossible to choose just one. The world's finest music hall? That's easy, without a doubt, it's Music Hall in Cincinnati."

We moved to Cincinnati 12 years ago and couldn't wait to visit Music Hall. We agree with Sir Rudolph Bing.

Ruth Levinson, Wyoming

Wednesday, April 2, 2003


Watched TV with Janis at Music Hall

I saw a lot of concerts at the Music Hall. One that I will always remember is the Sacred Mushroom/Big Brother and The Holding Company with Janis Joplin on October 14, 1968. In the middle of the show Janis had a portable black and white TV towards the audience. We all giggled as we watched a video of The Beatles singing, "All You Need is Love" on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour show. I still have that ticket.

Dean Reynolds, Milford

Beautiful music a favorite memory

My best childhood memory was at the Music Hall in about 1952. Some of my classmates were attending a special children's symphony program. I couldn't attend on my own for lack of money. Every now and then someone was unable to attend, and my teacher picked me to go in his or her place. The music that was heard at age seven or eight was just heaven to my ears. I've never heard anything so beautiful. That teacher and the music will always be with me.

Maryellen Giesman, Norwood

Jimmy Hoffa on center stage

Jimmy Hoffa on stage in the music Hall? The late Teamster president was there, one hot Sunday evening in August of 1961. So was I, one of many reporters covering his appearance. The late Jim Luken's dairy drivers had left the Teamsters for the AFL-CIO, and Hoffa was in town trying to discourage further departures. WCKY had featured the two in a news program that afternoon and I had been a panel member.

The feisty Hoffa got upset over news coverage during his Music Hall speech, grabbed the media microphones near the speakers platform and thumped them down on the floor, proclaiming that the reporters were just going to put on the air what they wanted to, not everything he was going to say. While this was going on, some of Hoffa's associates were playing cards at a table behind the curtain.

In later years I would attend other dramatic but more musical events at the Music Hall, including Max Rudolf's "Beethoven Cycle" in the 1960's and Paavo Jarvi's excellent performances now.

Don Herman, Anderson Township

Family enjoyment for four generations

I grew up hearing stories about Music Hall from my father, Saul Shuller. Back in the '30s dad was a piano major at the Conservatory of Music which, at the time, was next door to Music Hall.

One of his favorite tales took place when he was a student. It was his legendary (and mandatory) appearance in the ballet, "Petrouchka," on the huge concert hall stage, without any rehearsals. The ballet master was in the orchestra pit jumping around and yelling out directions. He said nobody knew what they were doing but it seemed to work. Many years later, having attended numerous performances and events at Music Hall, I got my big break. I was chosen to be a "super" in Cincinnati Opera's 1974 production of "Roberto Devereaux" starring Beverly Sills and John Alexander. Mother and Dad were in the audience along with my husband and children. That experience will live in my memory forever.

However, I was never so thrilled to be in that building as when our 3-year-old granddaughter was asked to be one of the flower presenters at the finale of the 2002 May Festival. All decked out in a long white organza dress and a garland in her hair.

Barbara Hahn, Indian Hill

Marian Anderson was inspirational

On a Sunday afternoon in the late 1940's, Marian Anderson presented a concert at the Music Hall. She was wearing a light blue sheer evening gown with a long train, which she maneuvered with elegance and grace. I was enraptured by her stage presence and glorious voice.

Seeing and hearing Marian Anderson is person has deepened my appreciation for great music and sustained my profound desire to look representative at all occasions.

Edna P. Farley, North Avondale

Friday, March 28, 2003


Experiences highlight need for arts in life

One of the greatest experiences I have ever had and treasure the most was the year I volunteered as an usher at Music Hall. My high school orchestra teacher arranged it. As an usher I saw the performances for free, watched pre-show rehearsals and post-performance receptions, was allowed backstage, and experienced the grandeur of the hall's architecture. It was an amazing opportunity that has given me a lifelong love for the arts. My favorite memories are: 1. When Carmen de Leone asked me to stand outside his green room door after a concert and said "Don't let anyone in," while I was allowed to be the only one to hear the private melody from his grand piano through the door. I still have his autograph. 2. When Martin Mull asked me to sit in the front row while he rehearsed before his show. He was fun, and he let me take his picture, which I also still have.

But I first fell in love with Music Hall in second grade when my music class went there on a field trip. I remember sitting in the balcony before the concert, dazzled by the great chandelier. Then when I saw the musicians, dressed in clean black and white, and heard the sound that only an orchestra can create, I was hooked! Let this be a testament to the great importance of having the arts, and music, in our educational curriculum. It brings such great dimension to young minds, in such profound and diverse ways that we may never know, yet enriches our lives in exponential ways.

Barbara Bruner, Ocala, Fla.

Formerly of Cincinnatian

Remembers hearing Rachmaninoff play

My daddy took me to the symphony at Music Hall when I was a young girl. We were all dressed up for the occasion - at that time most people came in formals. We sat in the front center, close to the stage.

Sergei Rachmaninoff was performing, and I can still picture in my mind how he looked. He was very tall and slim and had short-cropped, light brown hair and very long fingers. He ended the program by playing his famous "Prelude in C# Minor." It was thrilling.

Since becoming an adult, my husband and I have attended the symphony regularly for over 50 years.

Hazel Hieber Popp, Fort Thomas

Appearance in opera remains unforgettable

I have many wonderful memories of many moments in that glorious building called Music Hall. As a little girl, my parents took me to view boxing matches and roller derbies. My grade school went for a concert. I think I was more interested in the candy that was being passed than what was on stage. We were sitting in the balcony so the crackle of candy wrappers did not disturb the orchestra.. Then there was high school and a prom in the Music Hall ballroom.

This year it will be 50 years of visiting Music Hall. In those 50 years, I have enjoyed glorious music, wonderful ballets and great operas. I served as president of the Women's Committee of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and in that capacity I had the privilege of presenting watches to orchestra members who performed with the orchestra for 25 years.

But the moment that I will never forget was opening night, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 1978, when I walked on Music Hall stage as the Grand Duchess of Anastasia in Sigmund Romberg's opera Student Prince to a sold-out house. My opening line was, "What does this mean - how dare you keep me waiting," but for one second I went blank. That awful and horrendous moment seemed like hours and those so-called butterflies flew out of my stomach in droves. The line did come out of my mouth and the opera was a great success.

The Hall represents so much of Cincinnati's history and its culture and we can be so proud she has stood for 125 years.

Sylvia L. Benjamin, East Walnut Hills

Accordions were up, down, but part of CSO

The Music Hall experience stories are certainly among the best articles featured in the Enquirer. Here is my 1976 experience. Jack Wellbaum, personal manager of CSO, called me. Jack needed me to play the accordion for a composition by Peter Tschaikovsky, "Suite Characteristique No. 2," which features four accordions in the third movement

When we four accordions came onto the stage with all the other musicians, they welcomed us as if we were royalty.

Guest conductor Henry Lewis said we should stand while playing our parts, and sit down when we finished. This required us to stand and sit four times for the whole passage.

Concert night arrived. The third movement arrived. We did our up-and-down appearance and disappearance. And, at the end of the fifth movement, the whole CSO welcomed thunderous applause.

Then, for the next weeks, I'd hear from my friends and others - including my dermatologist - "Did I see you and three other accordions in the CSO at the last concert?" I said, "You sure did," and then told this story.

Dorothy E. Kemp, Northside

Monday, March 24, 2003


'Patriotic' Pops flags were made in China

On Feb. 22, there was a Pops concert at Music Hall called, "A Patriotic Celebration."

It was being taped for TV. They passed out little plastic flags for everyone to wave and show their patriotism. The only problem is the American flags have the words "Made in China" printed on them.

Whoever is in charge of purchasing these flags should show some patriotic spirit of their own and buy flags made here in the U.S.A.

Gary Meadows, White Oak

Take advantage of local treasure

My Music Hall memories began in 1984 when I joined the administration of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as Director of Regional and Educational Programs. I was fortunate to become general manager of the CSO and the May Festival in 1988 and spend a total of 16 years working with all of the wonderful people in the CSO and May Festival families - in our beloved Music Hall.

The professionalism and week-to-week commitment to excellence by the board of directors, music directors, musicians, choristers and staff of these two organizations will live with me forever.

, I encourage everyone in the region to take advantage of these most enjoyable and moving events. If you attend on a regular basis, you know exactly of what I speak. If you do not, you don't know what you are missing. Treat yourself and enjoy.

Jeff Alexander, President and general manager, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Mario Lanza sang at Music Hall

My favorite memory of Music Hall is when Mario Lanza sang there in April 1951.

Most people don't recognize his name. To me, he was and always will be the greatest singer who ever lived.

When I visited the Mario Lanza Institute and Museum in Philadelphia, I talked to the person working and told her that I had seen him in Cincinnati. She said I was the only person that she knew of who had seen him in person.

Betty Powers, Covington

Anyone else recall Music Hall ski jump?

It was in the '30s - I was about 7 or 8 - a flower show or sport show was being held at Music Hall using both sides of the main building. Outside on the sidewalk a ski jump had been erected, and in the evening some skiers would jump. It was not very high but enough to put on a show.

In trying to find out more about this, I came to a dead end. No one had ever seen or heard of it. And of course my parents are no longer around to verify this story. Maybe some readers of my era would remember something about this.

Millie Didlake, Anderson Township

Tucker car made for great first memory

In 1948, I was visiting my sister. I decided to go for a walk in downtown Cincinnati. As a boy of 16 from southern Kentucky, going downtown was an adventure.

Living on 15th Street, near Elm Street, my route took me by Music Hall. I could see a lot of people gathered around a new car. I went over and took a look. It was a new Tucker automobile. Ramps were put up the front steps, and it was driven into the building. I was impressed by its power as it climbed the steps and was put on display inside. I was among the few people to get a preview of such a beautiful car. It was put on display, and that was my first visit to Music Hall.

James Godsey, Montgomery

Child's laughter during play was memorable

I have lived in Cincinnati all of my life and have many wonderful memories of visiting Music Hall. My favorite memory is of the time my husband and I took our two sons, ages 6 and 4, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to The Nutcracker for the first time. The boys were all dressed up and, I have to confess, I was a little worried about how they would act during such a long performance. Maybe they were too young for this type of experience.

We were sitting in the balcony as the lights dimmed and the performance began. I started to relax as the townspeople started across stage on their way to the party. Then, as the old woman started slipping and sliding across the stage, I heard a little giggle coming from the seat next to me. As the old woman continued her antics, the giggle turned into a loud belly-laugh - my 4-year-old son was in stitches.

Now, my son had a wonderful, deep laugh when he was a small child, but I wasn't sure how the rest of the audience was enjoying it. After all, this was the ballet at Music Hall. After only a few seconds, the people around us all started joining in the laughter. I'm sure it was the most unusual and most memorable opening to The Nutcracker the Cincinnati Ballet had ever experienced.

Jan Richer, Sharonville

First time at symphony still vivid experience

My favorite memory of Music Hall was my first visit back in 1939. I was attending Hanover College in Indiana, and my college friend wanted me to spend a weekend with her folks in Cincinnati.

Her sister took us to the symphony that night. This was my first visit to a big city, and my first symphony experience. The whole evening was unforgettable.Everyone was dressed so elegantly, and this small-town girl was completely thrilled by the glamour and the beautiful music.

I started teaching in this area in 1946, retired in 1979, and this coming year will be my 25th anniversary as a CSO subscriber to the Friday morning concerts.

Martha L. Bunch, Fort Wright

Dream of entering Music Hall fulfilled

I was born Aug. 9, 1933, at 120 Findlay St., and later moved to Elder and Logan streets. Mom used to walk us everywhere. I remember passing Music Hall a lot and always thinking, "Wow, these people are rich, but I will someday hopefully go there."

I now do professional ballroom dancing . We go to Music Hall in the spring and the fall. I never go through the doors without remembering the "little girl."

Joan Clark, Batavia

Saturday, March 15, 2003


Tucker car made for great first memory

In 1948, I was visiting my sister. I decided to go for a walk in downtown Cincinnati. As a boy of 16 from southern Kentucky, going downtown was an adventure.

Living on 15th Street, near Elm Street, my route took me by Music Hall. I could see a lot of people gathered around a new car. I went over and took a look. It was a new Tucker automobile. Ramps were put up the front steps, and it was driven into the building. I was impressed by its power as it climbed the steps and was put on display inside. I was among the few people to get a preview of such a beautiful car. It was put on display, and that was my first visit to Music Hall.

James Godsey, Montgomery

First time at symphony still vivid experience

My favorite memory of Music Hall was my first visit back in 1939. I was attending Hanover College in Indiana, and my college friend wanted me to spend a weekend with her folks in Cincinnati.

Her sister took us to the symphony that night. This was my first visit to a big city, and my first symphony experience. The whole evening was unforgettable, and I was in awe of the ladies in their formals and men in tuxedos. Everyone was dressed so elegantly, and this small-town girl was completely thrilled by the glamour and the beautiful music.

I started teaching in this area in 1946, retired in 1979, and this coming year will be my 25th anniversary as a CSO subscriber to the Friday morning concerts.

Martha L. Bunch, Fort Wright

Appearance in opera remains unforgettable

I have many wonderful memories of many moments in that glorious building called Music Hall. As a little girl, my parents took me to view boxing matches and roller derbies. My grade school went for a concert and sat in the balcony. I think I was more interested in the candy that was being passed than what was transpiring on stage. Then there was high school and a prom in the Music Hall ballroom.

This year it will be 50 years of visiting Music Hall. In those 50 years, I have enjoyed glorious music, wonderful ballets and great operas. I served as president of the Women's Committee of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and in that capacity I had the privilege of presenting watches to orchestra members who performed with the orchestra for 25 years.

But I will never forget was opening night, Aug. 2, 1978, when I walked on Music Hall stage as the Grand Duchess of Anastasia in Sigmund Romberg's opera Student Prince to a sold-out house. My opening line was, "What does this mean - how dare you keep me waiting," but for one second I went blank. That awful and horrendous moment seemed like hours and those so-called butterflies flew out of my stomach in droves. The line did come out of my mouth and the opera was a great success.

Sylvia L. Benjamin, East Walnut Hills

Friday, March 7, 2003


Music Hall graduation unforgettable

While in grade school, I was envious of those who were often dismissed early on Fridays to attend the children's concerts at Music Hall. I was never there very often but was thrilled when my senior class at Withrow High School held its graduation ceremony at Music Hall in 1941.

It was so beautiful as the girls in their white dresses carrying bouquets of red roses marched down one aisle while the boys in dark pants and white jackets marched down the other. I remember the wonderful evening we had when the parents of one of my friends treated four of us to dinner at Beverly Hills after the ceremony. High school was an experience of great joy for me, but war was looming over us at that time, and one of the young men who was with us that evening was the first Withrow graduate to be killed in World War II.

Ann Hexamer Eddy, College Hill

From 'Nutcracker' to Big Band era

My first memory of Music Hall was in 1947 when our class went there to hear a concert. I still remember how excited I was to be able to go to such a beautiful place. I heard the "Lincoln Portrait" for the first time. I knew then that I would make Music Hall part of my life. I remember the wonderful ballroom where, as a young, single adult I enjoyed the music of the Big Band era. My high school graduation and dance was held there in June of 1952. I introduced my children to Music Hall and classical music through the "Nutcracker." Thanks for the memories, Music Hall.

Ramona Gillock, Bridgetown

Imagine: Concerts for only 55 cents

Does anyone remember the College Symphonic Concerts? The only series I attended was held during 1942-1943. The season consisted of four concerts each on a Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. These concerts were designed especially for students and young adults.

As I recall, Music Hall was not even filled to one-fourth capacity, but certainly not because of the prohibitive price of $2.20, including tax, for the entire season; it is difficult now to even imagine 55 cents concert.

Eugene Goossens, then conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony, took a few minutes to introduce each work. The selections he chose were beautiful, interesting and varied. The second concert even included his own symphony. There was always a young talented musician as soloist on each program. It was a wonderful experience and truly an excellent introduction to the classics.

Paul J. Lee, Mason

Famous entertainers, and my daughter, too

I would have to put Erich Kunzel, the Pops and his guests at the top of my list. Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, who debuted his "Oratorio," Ray Charles and Cab Calloway come to mind first, also the PBS specials, previews of albums, and many more. Then there was taking my daughter to the "Nutcracker" and seeing her play for graduations, and then her own graduation from St. Ursula on the same stage that all these famous people had played.

Jim Sicking, Monfort Heights

Memories of diplomas, roses

I have several memories of Music Hall. It was in June 1943, when my Hughes High School senior class of over 500 students held its graduation ceremony at Music Hall. I was the first girl to arrive. My father had called a taxi to take us there, but it never came. At the last minute my cousin, who lived a block away drove us downtown. I rushed to get in line and was given the last of the roses - a half-dozen instead of a dozen. I remember looking at the sea of faces from the stage. The next day the florist gave me a dozen fresh red roses and I had my picture taken at a studio.

Fifty-one years later I attended my granddaughter's graduation in that beautiful auditorium which had been recently refurbished. That was a proud moment.

Music Hall is such a magnificent place. I hope it will still be used another 125 years from now.

Ruth Poe, Colerain Township

1928 May Festival still stands out

My maiden name is Louise Frankenstein, and I went to Chase elementary school for eight years. When I was in the fifth year and 10 years old, our music teacher chose about eight or 10 children out of our classes to sing in the May Festival at Music Hall. At the time, her father was the conductor.

My mother took me to Rinslers' photo store downtown and had my picture taken. She also made my white dress for the occasion. She and my grandmother paid $2 apiece to hear me sing.

At the end of the performance, we all received a large can of Christmas hard-tack candy in payment.

I am 84 years old, so this happening was in 1928.

The principle at Chase took us all to Music Hall about twice a week, for months, to practice.

Louise Merwin, Dent

'And we shall be changed'

This would have been in 1974 or 1975. I was singing a performance of "Elijah" in the May Festival Chorus. We were in suspense for two reasons. Would the boy soprano's voice change before the end of the piece? And would the weather hold up?

We had reached a critical point in the performance, where amidst tumultuous music, the chorus sings, "He rode a whirlwind to heaven." Just at that moment, there was an enormous clap of thunder and a gale that howled audibly above the performance. A coup de theatre nobody could have arranged!

A second memory is from an orchestra rehearsal for the "Messiah." John Shirley-Quirk was the baritone. He was singing, "The trumpet shall sound," and James Conlon, wishing to go into the hall to check the balance, handed his baton to Keith Lockhart without missing a beat. Shirley-Quirk was looking at his music. Suddenly he looked up and saw what had happened, and gave a special emphasis to the line "and we shall be changed!" The entire chorus and orchestra broke up laughing.

Eric Hatch, Loveland

Saturday, March 1, 2003


Music Hall ceremony holds family memory

The happiest night of my life took place in Music Hall. My high school held our graduation ceremony there, in 1978, coinciding with the Hall's 100th anniversary. The magnificent surroundings added grandeur to an already exciting evening.

I had been chosen to speak, and I can still remember standing on that historic stage that still echoed with a century of talented performers, my own future brimming with promise.

The evening was even more special because it took place on my father's birthday. That lovely night seems even sweeter in retrospect. I would write other speeches, graduate from medical school, but this would be my father's last birthday. Within weeks of starting college, he was hospitalized with cancer; he died before the end of my first semester.

For me, the history of Music Hall will always included the last celebratory night of my family.

Karen Roberts, Lancaster, PA., Formerly of Montgomery

Who could forget all those paper planes?

When I was young, my grandfather lived on Vine Street just above 14th Street, less than a mile from a gigantic, redbrick building that haunted my imagination.

Through some 60 years, I've been there hundreds of times to enjoy operas, concerts and ballets. Once I even attended the roller derby in the North wing. But my defining moment at Music Hall came at a much younger age.

One spring afternoon when I was 10 or 11, my class was bused to Music Hall for a children's concert under Eugene Goossens. With three or four friends, I raced up to the top for seats in the gallery where we received our one-page programs. Attention spans being what they were even then for youngsters, the audience grew a bit restless. That set the stage for a scene that still lives vividly in my thoughts.

Some kid discovered that the programs made ideal paper airplanes and sent one soaring in a graceful spiral all the way from the gallery to the first floor. The idea caught on, and suddenly the auditorium was filled with a blizzard of white airplanes.

The music I have forgotten, but I'll never forget the white paper snowstorm.

Tom Buck, West Chester

Music Hall was special grown-up treat

When I was in the fourth grade, almost 30 years ago, my best friend's parents had tickets to the symphony at Music Hall quite often. On occasion they couldn't go, and would treat her and me to the tickets.

We both used to get all dressed up, and her mother would drop us off at the front steps of Music Hall, and we would find our way to the seats. I remember falling sound asleep one time and waking up only because the audience was clapping at the end. I guess I found this so memorable because we felt so grown up to be going out alone to such a beautiful place.

Terri A. Baston, White Oak

Wednesday, February 19, 2003


Anniversary inspired classical hall

It was at the 100th anniversary of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in April 1995 that on stage were four international conductors, Jesus-Lopez-Cobos, Michael Gielen, Erich Kunzel and Keith Lockhart, and three international performers, Itzhak Perlman, Mstislav Rostropovich and Richard Stolzman.

It was at this time that Cleveland was opening up their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a lot of publicity and fanfare. I thought to myself, is there a Hall of Fame for classical music? This began my quest to begin the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. Everyone I interviewed said, "If there is not a hall of fame for classical music, there should be."

Now eight years later and five induction ceremonies completed, the American Classical Music Hall of Fame has become a major force in classical music nationally and internationally. Without the Cincinnati Music Hall experience, none of this would have happened. I often say to people, "Cincinnati is major league baseball and football, but more importantly, Cincinnati is major league music."

David A. Klingshirn, Founder, Classical Music Hall of Fame

Hall brings back memories of events

In response to requests regarding the 125th anniversary of Music Hall, I think of two events:

I participated in a program where high school students carried flags of all the countries of the world. The one I carried was Afghanistan.

I was with the symphony orchestra. A good friend took my sister and me to see Mario Lanza. I will never forget the stage presence and talent of his magnificent stature.

Both of these events were in the early 1950s.

Virginia Niemeyer, Harrison

Great music paved way for auditions, career

I was a lucky kid. My mother and dad introduced me to great music at Music Hall and the Zoo Opera.

I studied voice at the old Conservatory of Music on Highland Avenue. I sang with the short-lived Cincinnati Light Opera Company and, in 1940, I passed an audition with the Zoo Opera. I was promised several small roles the following summer, but World War II had come along and I volunteered to "get my year over with." I served 5 years in the Army.

My career, of course, was in radio and TV in New York and Hollywood "working" with people like Johnny Carson, Jackie Gleason, Jack Lemmon, and Arthur and Kathryn Murray.

Bill Nimmo, Milford