March 6, 2003

Bailey Hall Renovations to Displace Many

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Organizations that currently make use of Bailey Hall for performances and special events are undergoing a search for new venues due to the upcoming two-year-long construction project on the building.

The Cornell Concert Commission, a student organization that holds concerts of mainstream recording artists for the University community, uses Bailey Hall as one of its primary performing centers.

The Commission brought the Roots to perform there last fall, and plans to have Nas and Ben Folds perform there later this year. Members are still uncertain about what they will do during the building’s upcoming hiatus.

“We’ve always had the choice of doing large shows or small shows. We might have to tend to do larger shows,” said Kristen Massaro ’04, executive director of the Commission.

Massaro said they will most likely do even their smaller shows at their largest venue, Barton Hall, which holds about 5,000 people as opposed to Bailey’s 1,900.

However, she voiced some concerns about that possibility.

“It makes it look really empty, and the acoustics in Barton aren’t so great without a lot of people there,” she said.

The Commission is also thinking of moving shows to Bartels Hall or the Statler, but plans are “still on the back burner until we get through the next two shows coming up,” Massaro said.

Bailey’s closing will also create problems for the Cornell Programming Board. It will be looking to Barton and Statler as venues as well, but feels that Barton will be too big in many cases; the Board is also concerned about the Statler’s status as an academic building, which may restrict the types of performances that can be held there.

“We’re putting Bill Cosby there [Barton Hall] for family weekend, and we wouldn’t be doing that if we had Bailey available,” said Ariel Schwartz ’03, chair of the Program Board.

The Cornell Concert Series, which hosts jazz, international music and dance performances, will be moving many of their shows to the Ithaca State Theatre.

“Historic Ithaca is really excited to have performances of this caliber come down the hill to us,” Scott Whitham, executive director of Historic Ithaca and overseer of the renovation of the State Theatre, told the Ithaca Journal.

The performances moving from Bailey to downtown include the Newport Jazz Festival and a concert by the cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Archived article by Amy Green