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music shed
Ellen Battell Stoeckel Estate Announces Renovations

musics shed
The Music Shed

Norfolk Festival Awarded $1.5 Million
for Historic Preservation

In the interests of jump starting the restoration of Norfolk's Battell Stoeckel Estate, an anonymous donor has contributed $500,000.00 toward the renovation of Whitehouse, and $1,000,000.00 to be used as a 2:1 challenge grant for the historic Music Shed. "Needless to say," said Paul Hawkshaw, Director of the Norfolk Festival, "we are incredibly grateful. It is a wonderful shot in the arm for our ambition of restoring the entire estate to its early twentieth-century splendor."

The money for Whitehouse will be used to complete the second phase of a total renovation of the Battell Family's ancestral home -- rebuilding the roof, reconstruction of the chimneys, and a new security system. This work is scheduled for completion in time for the 2012 season of the Norfolk Festival.

The remainder of the anonymous gift and all matching monies will be used for restoration of the Music Shed and replacement of the present music studio Annex which was added during the 1970s and is now defunct. The Shed itself was built by New York Architect E. K. Rossiter in 1906, and can be configured to hold audiences of two to seven hundred people. As Norfolk Festival patrons know from glancing at the pictures on the walls, since the outset, its stage has been graced by some of the world's greatest composers and performers including Fritz Kreisler, Jan Paderewski, Jean Sibelius, Sergei Rachmaninov and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Both the Whitehouse and Music Shed projects will be overseen by the architectural firm, John G. Waite Associates. One of America's foremost preservation architects, "Jack" Waite has supervised the renovation of many of America's most important buildings including George Washington's Estate, Mount Vernon; Edith Warton's home, The Mount; the Jefferson Rotunda at the University of Virginia; the Harry S. Truman Library; Baltimore Cathedral; the Lincoln Memorial and, most recently, the Statue of Liberty. Bill Gridley, one of the Battell Stoeckel Estate Trustees, commented that: "We are very fortunate to have the benefit of such expertise for our historic treasures right here in Norfolk."

The acoustical supervisor for the Music Shed will be R. Lawrence Kirkegaard who has consulted on a significant number of the world's performing arts facilities designed or renovated over the past forty years – Royal Festival Hall, London; San Francisco Veterans' Hall; and Sprague Hall on the Yale Campus. He has been a pioneering figure in the field of architectural acoustics, helping to redefine the relationship between music and architecture – achievements recognized by the Acoustical Society of America, American Institute of Architects, United States Institute for Theatre Technology, and conductors and musicians around the world.

Concerning the Music Shed, Jack Waite says: "In addition to preserving the integrity of this historic architectural and acoustic gem, we are very concerned that the renovation will improve audience comforts for the twenty-first century." The restoration will look to provide an "all natural" cooling system with a reconstructed cupola (normal air conditioning will crack the redwood interior); larger modernized washrooms; a new Green Room to greet performers; and a more accessible concessions area. The original cupola, the remnants of which are still visible from inside the hall, was destroyed by lightening decades ago. According to Waite: "The Music Shed is one of America's most important cultural monuments and should be considered as a national landmark. We are looking forward to preserving it for audiences for generations to come."