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Indiana Bicentennial Celebration 2016

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Legacy Projects > Delphi Opera House Bicentennial Heritage Events & Grand Opening Celebration Delphi Opera House Bicentennial Heritage Events & Grand Opening Celebration

When it originally opened in 1865 as Assion-Ruffing City Hall, the Delphi Opera House was purposed as a venue for cultural programs. The opera house enjoyed a successful run as a regional arts center for readings, recitals, theatre and balls until closed by the fire marshal in 1914. In September, 2015 this newly restored and renovated historic gem is poised to open its doors once again. The inaugural season will include a “Heritage Series” that will celebrate and recreate some of the venue’s original events as well and present programs that are relevant to Indiana’s rich history.

Q&A with Legacy Project Coordinator Sara Daly Brosman

What do you consider the key accomplishment of your Legacy Project?

  • The grand reopening of the Delphi Opera House presented an opportunity to celebrate Delphi's storied past by presenting a series of programs depicting events and personalities from the 19th century when the opera house was the cultural center of the town. The events were well-attended and successfully introduced the beautifully restored Delphi Opera House as a modern-day community center and venue for performing arts. With some of the events low-priced, the Delphi Opera House's grand reintroduction ensured that it was physically, culturally, and financially accessible.

Describe a highlight or most memorable moment related to your Legacy Project.

  • The grand reopening of the Delphi Opera House in October 2015 was celebrated with two events that connected the restored theater to its stellar past. On Friday, October 16, 2015 a performance by the Vintage Brass Band was reminiscent of brass bands that flourished during the 1860s through 1880s and which commanded a strong presence in the historic opera house.
    The Assion-Ruffing City Hall opened in 1865 with a ball for soldiers returning home from the Civil War. 150 years later, the Celebration Ball on October 17, 2015 was reminiscent of that grand occasion with most participants dressed in costumes from the Civil War era. Among the attendees were many individual and corporate donors whose commitments of volunteer time and dollars contributed to the amazing restoration of the historic 19th-century structure as a community center and venue for the performing arts. Rave reviews followed both for the event and for the beautifully restored opera house. In February of 2016, 'Abraham Lincoln with Song' presented by Chris Vallilo, provided further connections with the rich heritage of the opera house bringing back the songs of the Civil War era and the tradition of traveling minstrels. James Whitcomb Riley's association with Delphi and the Delphi Opera House -- in which he had performed at least six times -- was celebrated in July 2016 as interpreter Jeff Kuehl provided an inspiring program of Riley's poetry and in-character reminiscing of associations with Delphi.

How/where are you preserving information and artifacts related to your Legacy Project?

  • The Delphi Opera House maintains an archive of clippings, digital media, and paper files for past events.

Total number of volunteers who participated.

  • 65

Estimated total attendance.

  • 575

Estimated dollar amount raised.

  • $16,265

Estimated dollar amount spent.

  • $3,300

Photos of Delphi Opera House Bicentennial Heritage Events and Grand Opening Celebration

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Project Details