One of my favorite parts about this year’s Kantorei Kamp was getting to tag along on the field trip to Powell Hall, the home of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (which is the second-oldest symphony orchestra in America). Of course I knew about the Symphony, but I had never really thought about the building in which they play. Powell Hall was originally the St. Louis Theater, which opened in 1925, and was host to live shows, Vaudeville acts, and movies. It wasn’t until 1968 that it reopened as the new home of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. I really wasn’t prepared for the grandeur of the building, which I noted the moment we walked in the door:
The Grand Foyer, which was modeled after the royal chapel at Versailles, is amazing to look at. There are beautiful crystal chandeliers and gold ornamentation taking the form of fleur-de-lis, dogwoods, and even instruments throughout. It is an amazing sight!
We stopped in the Met Bar, which, as the name suggests, contains a piece from the bar of the old Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. There are more beautiful decorative elements in this space, as well, including the only original chandelier from the St. Louis Theater:
We got to see the view from the Grand Tier, which made me feel like I was in an episode of I Love Lucy:
And from the Grand Circle. You can really appreciate the gold leaf on the ceiling from this viewpoint!
We then went to the very front of the hall. We didn’t get to go onstage, but we did get to take a look from the wings, and get an idea of what the musicians see:
We then got the real backstage tour, where we saw the “locker room,” if you will:
As well as the musician’s lounge:
We saw a lot of signed photos from famous entertainers who have performed at Powell…my favorite was Jack Benny (of course!). We also saw the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s Grammy award.
The outside of the building is quite grand, too.
This was a really fun trip, and I enjoyed getting the chance to see something really new. Now we just need to go to a concert, so we can get the full experience!