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Canceled concert leaves screen in limbo

SHELBURNE FALLS — Lack of advance ticket sales, combined with the threat of another snowstorm, prompted a Berkshire County band to cancel last Saturday’s “Music from Tommy” concert, which was to help buy a new movie screen for Pothole Pictures and the Memorial Hall Association.

“All parties involved were incredibly concerned about the low number of ticket sales for the “See Me” benefit, said Garrett Lechowski, founder of The Who tribute band, Who Are You.

“As Shelburne Falls was on the tail end of a lengthy snowstorm, the very difficult decision to cancel the show was made the day before the scheduled performance,” he said in an email. “Our biggest concern was that door sales would not make up for the expenses involved to put on this production.”

Because of the last-minute cancellation, Who Are You donated its $400 hall-rental fee to the Memorial Hall Association. “Our hope is that the community will work to find another way to help for the upgrade at Memorial Hall, as it is a lovely and well-run venue that deserves the ongoing preservation efforts that all involved work so hard to maintain,” said Lechowski.

Memorial Hall Theater Manager Fred DeVecca said the hall generally does well with at-the-door ticket sales, although it was unfortunate that two big fundraisers — Thursday’s Ken Burns benefit for the Arms Library, and the concert to benefit the theater — were scheduled only two days apart.

“There was some confusion, in that some believed the Ken Burns’ appearance was to benefit the Memorial Hall movie screen,” he remarked.

The screen used for both Pothole Pictures and for live broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera was bought used from the Academy of Music about 20 years ago; tears in the screen have been patched from behind with duct tape and awning tape. Last year, the whole top of the screen ripped, and it took several volunteers to tape it together.

DeVecca said a new screen is needed soon, “because, if we had another big rip, we could be in a position where WE would have to cancel something,” he said.

He said Memorial Hall Association and Pothole Pictures may try to organize another fundraising event for a new screen, which costs $5,000 to $6,000.

Donations for the screen may be sent to: Memorial Hall Association, P.O. Box 123, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at: dbroncaccio@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 277

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