Carmel, Indiana, Mayor Promises New Performing Arts Center Won't Host Rock Concerts

Classic Arts News   Carmel, Indiana, Mayor Promises New Performing Arts Center Won't Host Rock Concerts
Residents of Carmel, Indiana, concerned that its planned performing arts center might draw rock concerts and drug users, were reassured by mayor Jim Brainard that it would not, the Indianapolis Star reports.

"This is a very, very specific type of venue targeted toward a Carmel market," he said. "We're not going to have Deadheads or drugs here. This will be a true concert hall"

The $80 million Carmel Performing Arts Center, which would open in 2008, was approved by the city's redevelopment commission and now needs only to be approved by the city council, which will vote in May.

There is still a question, however, of exactly which performing groups would use the 1,600-seat concert hall and 500-seat theater, and whether there are enough such groups to fill the calendar and, more to the point, attract enough viewers to pay the center's operating expenses.

Other centers have successfully filled in calendars and met budgets with concerts of pop music.

Jim Kuszewski, a Carmel resident, said, "The pressure will be on to get attendance up and get a lot of people to visit Carmel, and I'm worried that could turn into one rock concert or 20 rock concerts a year. I'd like a better feel for what kind of events are foreseen in this auditorium."

The Carmel Symphony Orchestra, a volunteer ensemble, would be the primary performance group at the center, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has committed to playing from four to six concerts per year. Willem Brans, a New York-based concert-hall consultant said that the center will be a good stop for touring acts as well.

"There are artists that travel from New York to Pittsburgh to Columbus or Cincinnati and skip Indiana altogether on their way to Chicago or St. Louis. This would put Carmel and the Indianapolis region on that touring circuit in a very significant way—even for touring symphony orchestras from the East Coast or Europe."

Brans has projected that the concert hall would be used 211 days of the year, and that the theater would be in demand every day of the year.

Brainerd has also contacted local businesses and a church with a large congregation about using the center.

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