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Performance Hall - Renovation Project complete!

The “Under Construction” signs are gone! With the scaffolding removed, seats back in place, new carpet, newly painted walls, refinished floors, and acoustic clouds back above the stage, today the Hochstein Performance Hall reopened to the public after this summer’s renovations. These were the most extensive renovations since it first opened as a concert hall in 1999.

After 23 years of extensive use and wear-and-tear, the treasured space was in urgent need of repairs, renewal, and safety improvements. Roof repairs were completed in Spring 2022 to protect against further ceiling water damage and the Renovation Project commenced on July 1, 2022 and was completed on September 15, 2022.



The photo exhibits about David Hochstein and the history of The Hochstein School are now back on display in the rear corners of the first floor. You can see how much lighter the new paint color is when comparing it to the original color behind the stenciled text.

See pictures from a special event on September 27 to reopen the Performance Hall and read the full story on the HochStories blog at


Watch a video slideshow of the renovations from start to finish here:


Performance Hall update – Seats going in on first floor

September 8, 2022 – No, we’re not putting in a drive-in movie theater in the Performance Hall, although it sort of looks like the rows of movie speaker stands in bygone days. The metal standards are now bolted to the floor for the seats on the first floor, and they are starting to install the seat backs and cushions.

Part of the Performance Hall stage has been refinished, and you can see how much lighter the maple floor looks at the back of the stage where the old finish was removed. The seats and carpet are now in place in the balcony.

The contractors will finish installing the seats on the first floor this week and then the last of the acoustic clouds will go back up above the stage. The carpet installers will come in this weekend to lay carpet on the first floor.

Once that’s all done, a cleaning company will come in to give everything the once-over. We’re getting close!

(Click on each photo to view a larger version.)




Performance Hall update – sanding floors, reinstalling seats

September 1, 2022 – Time for another update on the ongoing Performance Hall renovation project. The fixed scaffolding and the old carpets have now been removed. The contractors are now working on refinishing all of the wood floors. This process involves sanding them down, then applying a clear wood sealer.

The Performance Hall seats are now back in the building after their summer vacation offsite. It turns out that not all the seats are the same width, and the metal side pieces (called standards) that hold the chair together and bolt to the floor also vary depending on the pitch of the floor. 

A specialist was brought in to keep track of which seat goes where – labelling everything before it left the hall – and now will be putting the seats back together in the right spots.

The seats have already been replaced in the balcony. All of the seating for the first floor is currently on the stage, with the seat backs in boxes and the seat cushions stacked on top of the boxes. The metal standards that hold the seats have been repainted and now begins the process of reassembling the seating. 

New wood trim is being added in some places where there used to be carpeting, like around the front of the stage. Ladders are being used as drying racks for the wood boards after they have been stained.

Once the floors are done, they will begin adding in the carpeting in the aisles. Some of the stair carpeting is already completed. Once there is space on the stage, they will use a movable scaffold to finish putting the acoustic clouds back in place above the stage.

Hochstein’s Operations Manager Randy Kemp tells us that the project is on track for a mid-September completion, in time for some of the ensemble rehearsals in the hall.

(Click on each photo to view a larger version.)


Performance Hall renovations story on News 8 WROC

August 16, 2022 - Dan Gross from News 8 WROC came to Hochstein last week for a sneak peek behind the current renovations in the Hochstein Performance Hall. Hochstein’s Operations Manager Randy Kemp gave Dan a tour of the renovations.

The decorative rope trim on the ceiling has now been replaced. Swiatek Studios had to cast a new piece of plaster to match what is there already, and it will be painted to match. As mentioned earlier, the mural in the ceiling over the stage has been completely repainted by Swiatek Studios.

The walls and ceiling have been painted, in a lighter shade than what was there before. You can see the difference between the two in the picture of the wall sign about David Hochstein (the darker shade is what was there before). This sign will be further embellished before the project is complete and the accompanying photographs and artwork go back on the walls.


Plans for the Performance Hall renovations have been in the works for some time, in part to address water damage in the ceiling over the years. In anticipation of the renovation, we underwent extensive roof repairs this past spring.

Once the ceiling repairs and painting are complete, the scaffolding will be removed from the hall. Then the construction team will begin the next round of work, which includes removing all of the carpets and replacing them, and they will repair and refinish all of the wood floors, including the stage floor.

Special thanks to our contractor, DGA Builders, who are working diligently to have the work completed by mid-September!

Click here to watch the Channel 8 video, or use the player below:


Performance Hall update – acanthus vine mural above stage

August 11, 2022 - This week, artist Brett Swiatek, owner of Swiatek Studios in Buffalo, NY, has been working in the Performance Hall to restore and repaint the acanthus vine mural that is in the ceiling over the stage.

Centuries ago, churches adopted this vine as a symbol because it can grow anywhere, it’s almost impossible to kill, and it continues to flower, grow, and prosper.

Along with this mural work, they have also re-cast approximately 5' of decorative rope trim to replace some that had suffered water damage over the years and will also be touching up any decorative/ornamental plaster with paint.

Brett is the third generation to work in the family business, which specializes in high-quality restoration work for commercial buildings, sacred spaces, museums, theaters, and private residences.








Performance Hall update – plaster repairs, sanding, painting

July 29, 2022 - This week, our intrepid photographer went above the clouds, so to speak, climbing a ladder to document the progress on the repairs to the Performance Hall ceiling. The plywood platform almost looks like a dance floor! The construction team has been making steady progress on the plaster repairs and have started sanding and painting. Hochstein Operations Manager Randy Kemp says the project is right on track.







Performance Hall update – scaffolding in place

July 22, 2022 - Ever stand next to a cloud? Hochstein Operations Manager Randy Kemp did just that, standing next to one of the acoustic “clouds” that was above the stage in the Performance Hall before the renovation work started. Some of the clouds are being stored on the stage, covered with plastic and masonite for protection. The scaffolding is all in place now and the crew is working on identifying areas where plaster needs to be repaired and prepping for that part of the project.




Performance Hall update – clouds on stage

July 18, 2022 - No, these aren’t giant clams on the Performance Hall stage! As part of the current renovation project, the acoustic “clouds” needed to be taken down so the contractors could access the plaster that needs to be repaired in the ceiling above the stage. For reference, see the picture showing the Youth Singers on stage last spring, with the clouds above them.

Hochstein Performance Hall undergoes renovations

July 12, 2022 - In case you noticed the equipment outside Hochstein the past couple of weeks – and the warning signs now outside the Performance Hall – here’s the scoop on what’s going on behind those closed doors.

After the Hochstein Youth Singers concert on June 23 and a weekend of graduation ceremonies in late June, the Performance Hall became a construction zone, hard hats required. The aisle lights were disconnected from all the seats, which were then removed and stored off site. The Hochstein pianos left the building for their summer vacation and workers started loading in and assembling the scaffolding.

The space looks so different without the seats! Removing the seats also revealed two trap doors in the floor on the first level, front center, which in the past would have given access to the space under the floor. 

Once the scaffolding is up in the hall, workers will begin to repair the plaster and paint the ceilings and walls. All of the carpets will be removed and replaced, and they will repair and refinish all of the wood floors, including the stage floor. 

During this time, only authorized personnel are allowed in the Performance Hall. Hazards include the potential for toxic air quality and falling objects, so no peeking allowed! We do not want anyone to risk injury by entering the space.

If all goes according to plan, the renovations will be complete and the hall will be clean and ready for inspection by mid-September. Special thanks to our contractor, DGA Builders, who are working diligently to have the work completed by September!

In the meantime, summer camps that normally have performances in the Performance Hall will take place in the Recital Hall and Dance Studio.

While we are waiting to be able to enter the Performance Hall again, stop by and check out the display case outside the main office showing pictures of the Performance Hall over the years along with some of the building’s history – or view the photos below. (Click on each image for a larger version.)

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