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‘Grand’ support for 10 years

Music guild makes annual $1,000 donation

CHECK PRESENTATION — The Ohio Valley Music Guild made its 10th-annual donation toward the Grand Theater Restoration Project, an occasion marked when guild representatives presented the 10th installment of $1,000 to Scott Dressel, right, president of the Grand Theater Restoration Project. Guild representatives on hand Thursday were, from left, Ross Gallabrese, second vice president; Matthew Gallabrese, treasurer; Marie Wilson, president; Toni Dondzila, secretary; and Judi Gaynor, board member. -- Janice Kiaski

STEUBENVILLE — For 10 years, the Ohio Valley Music Guild has shown support for the Grand Theater Restoration Project.

The gesture was demonstrated again Thursday when representatives of the guild presented their annual $1,000 donation toward the restoration of the only still-standing theater in downtown Steubenville.

Guild representatives and Scott Dressel, president of the Grand Theater Restoration Project and self-described “lead volunteer,” gathered outside the theater at 121 S. Fourth St. for a ceremonial check presentation photo.

On hand with Dressel were guild leaders Marie Wilson, president; Ross Gallabrese, second vice president; Matthew Gallabrese, treasurer; Toni Dondzila, secretary; and Judi Gaynor, board member.

“The Ohio Valley Music Guild is pleased and honored to be able to support the ongoing efforts to revitalize our community by making this donation to the Grand Theater,” Wilson said.

Dressel expressed appreciation for the donation, generated from music events organized by the guild.

“This is their 10th $1,000 check,” Dressel said, noting the music guild is, moneywise, among the longest and largest of faithful supporters since the project began.

“We have a handful who have been doing it all along every year,” he said. Work has been funded by private donations and grants.

“It’s very nice of them, and it couldn’t be timed better,” he added, noting the need to purchase supplies for interior work and face an insurance bill due in November for $5,000.

A 501c3 nonprofit, the Grand is owned by the Steubenville Historic Landmarks Foundation, a private volunteer-run nonprofit.

Major milestones completed since the restoration began in 2010 include the roof; lobby, office and museum; asbestos and mold abatement; new electrical service and heat in the main theater; a front facade; and work on the second-floor ballroom.

Asked about the status of work that day, Dressel said, “We have steel work going on on the underside of the balcony, so there are six small pieces of steel that need replaced. That’s happening right now, so when that’s done, the balcony mezzanine and all that structural stuff will be done, so that’s good.”

Two large grant requests, he said, are pending. One includes the Ohio Capital Bill Grant.

“It is a state of Ohio Capital Bill, and they do a bond issue once every two years, and they fund all kinds of projects all over the state,” he said.

“This will be one hopefully, it’s a bigger number this time.” Also sought is a Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association Appalachian Regional Commission Area Developmental Grants.

“That’s a little bit harder one to achieve, but we’re trying and I’ve been talking with them so if we get big money, then you’ll see more work on the plaster next year and maybe even the elevator in the ballroom space, which would be a miracle,” Dressel said.

What work has been done on the theater puts it at one-fifth of the way finished.

“It’s a long-term project,” Dressel said of what also has “a lot of potential.”

He said restored theaters have changed every town they’ve been restarted and reopened in, in Ohio, not to mention the country.

“What we’re doing is phasing it in,” Dressel explained. “As you know we’re using the lobby and the office space now for the Harmonium project events during First Fridays on Fourth.”

The ballroom moves closer to completion, according to Dressel.

“It’s probably three-fourths done, so then we can open up that space and the more we open up, the more events we can have going on, so it’s not all or nothing. It’s as we do it,” Dressel said.

“The pipe organ is almost finished,” he added, referring to the restoration of the Wurlitzer theater organ that originally was in the theater in 1924.

For information or to donate, call (740) 632-2899 or visit www.historicsteubenville.org or Facebook at Grand Theater for the Performing Arts Steubenville Ohio.

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