Open Letter: CC’s Wallace Auditorium as cultural resource and a home for The Chappaqua Orchestra

Monday, July 28, 2014
by Michael Shapiro

Dear Supervisor Greenstein:

As I have mentioned to several people in town government over many years, The Chappaqua Orchestra is in favor of the renovation of the Wallace Auditorium at Chappaqua Crossing, and the auditorium thereafter being run by the Town or a not-for-profit corporation.  Properly renovated, the Wallace Auditorium could become the long desired home of the The Chappaqua Orchestra and other performing arts organizations.  Due to the very busy schedule at the high school, Greeley is not readily available for us.  Having a performing arts center at Chappaqua Crossing would also enliven the development by giving Chappaqua a priceless cultural resource, and the Chappaqua Orchestra a home.

I have asked Jerry Marshall, a renowned acoustical engineer (and long-time principal trumpet in our orchestra whose business has been located in Chappaqua for decades), to forward to me some recommendations of how the hall could become a first-rate performance space.  His recommendations are attached [below, in pdf form].

I would also welcome volunteering to help the Town in any way to help make the rebuilding of the Wallace Auditorium into Chappaqua’s premier performance venue.


Michael Shapiro
Music Director and Conductor
The Chappaqua Orchestra

Report by Jerry Marshall, acoustical engineer, on rebuilding the Wallace Auditorium

We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

If it were decided to do this, why in the world wouldn’t we ask Summit Greenfield—and not taxpayers—to pay for what’s needed?

By bob on 07/29/2014 at 8:41 am

The list of improvements is big and expensive.  So you mean Summit Greenfield should basically give an endowment to TCO?

By Hmm on 07/29/2014 at 3:37 pm

No. I mean taxpayers should not fund the Orchestra.

By bob on 07/29/2014 at 4:06 pm

It is not unusual for developers to gift towns as a part an allowed development .
This auditorium would be a wonderful benefit to the town.  It would not only be used by the orchestra. It should be the least of what they should give the town.
Greenstein tells us that SG is gifting us with it .  Not demolishing it is hardly a gift.
This is but another spin by our supervisor.  We are getting a big fat nothing from SG
Turns out that both Greenstein, Brodsky and their lawyers are not such good negotiators.

By rez on 07/30/2014 at 12:33 pm

If the Orchestra wants to rebuild and maintain the Wallace Auditorium going forward, they should raise the funds and do so.  The Town should neither pay for this nor allow the property to be taken off the tax roles and further reduce the Town’s tax base.

By If the Orchestra wants to rebuild and maintain the on 07/31/2014 at 4:15 pm

I think that the town wants the auditorium, not just the Orchestra.

By not just the Orchestra on 08/01/2014 at 5:43 am

When we visited the auditorium as a possible book fest venue, I heard there were sound problems plus seating seemed a bit limited and not much hall space for concessions, etc.  I think we should be sure it’s what we need before going toe-to-toe about it.  Seven bridges has a beautiful auditorium and the library is good for smaller groups.  If we’re getting a “gimmee” , I’d would much rather a pool and tennis.

By Dawn Greenberg on 08/02/2014 at 1:39 pm

I agree an outdoor pool would be nice

By Jill on 08/05/2014 at 10:08 pm

Town board, there you have it! The perfect solution for CC: Whole Foods, a pool, tennis courts, and the mosque.

By bob on 08/08/2014 at 8:03 am

Fewer and fewer residents know that for over 50 years Chappaqua was one of the best communities for local theater, being home to the Chappaqua Drama Group and the all student run Saw Mill Summer Theater. While the shows produced by the CDG were at times broadway class, producing dozens and dozens of future stars, the SMST was a very active summer home for thousands of not just performers, but set designers, marketing, graphic artists, producers, lighting etc.

Both organizations withered because of the increasing cost to rent the Horace Greeley High School or Chappaqua Library theaters. The theater space at Readers Digest (who BTW, routinely donated thousands of dollars to SMST as summer seed money ) would be ideal.

Besides the culture benefit having community theater brings to the town, having a place during the summer in which hundreds of high school and early college students could intern was extremely valuable in their future job hunting efforts and college admissions.

Today, sadly the small remaining essence of CDG is part of Pleasantville Music Theater, a sad commentary that such a well off town as Chappaqua had to outsource it’s local theater to the next town over.


By Local Theater on 08/09/2014 at 9:05 am

Local Theater,

I fondly remember that time very well.  I agree with you that the theater at Reader’s
Digest would be the perfect place to restore it.

People should let the TB and Greenstein know how they feel.  Greenstein has been touting that he has gotten SG to donate this building to the town, but that is only another one of his empty promises at this time since the rest of the TB has not even discussed this.  Someone will have to pay for the repairs and upkeep of this building if the town is to use it,  Greenstein has not bothered to address that little issue.

By Local Theater, YES ! on 08/10/2014 at 7:12 pm

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