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Music Hall fundraising nearing goal

Bill Rinehart

On May 1, 1877, construction began on Cincinnati’s Music Hall.  Now, 138 years later, the effort to renovate and restore the landmark received a large gift.

Edyth Lindner and the American Financial Group have pledged $10 million toward the estimated $125 million price tag.

The donation from Lindner and American Financial puts the fundraising effort within $10 million of the goal, according to Steve Leeper, president of 3CDC, a partner in the project.

Otto Budig, president of the Music Hall Revitalization Company, (and Cincinnati Public Radio board member,) says the building has not had “significant” renovations in over 40 years. 

“During this period, MHRC has remained fully committed to restoring Music Hall,” Budig says.  “And working in concert with 3CDC and the Cultural Facilities Task Force, and the city of Cincinnati, we are raising the funds needed.

“To celebrate this significant gift, our beautiful foyer will be named in honor of Edyth B. Lindner,” Budig says.

“My husband Carl and I have shared many wonderful memories of the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra in Music Hall,” said Mrs. Lindner. “With the restoration of this beautiful building, future Cincinatians can develop their own memories. I am so very honored to be a part of the renovation of Music Hall.”

There have been other large donations.  Leeper says there have been 20 gifts of $1 million or more.

“This transformational gift today is certainly inspiring, and gets us so much closer to our goal of $125 million to restore this amazing building,” Leeper says.  “We still do have a ways to go.”

The donation from Lindner and American Financial, Leeper says, puts the fundraising effort within $10 million of the goal.

Pops conductor John Morris Russell calls Music Hall the “epicenter of cultural life in Cincinnati.

“But this great edifice is also in dire need of attention,” he says.

The National Historic Trust for Historic Preservation named Music Hall as one of America's 11 most endangered buildings.  

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.