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Friday, March 11

The Music Hall’s Capital Campaign enters “Community Phase”

Recent Major Gifts Bring Campaign Total to $11.4 million

Countdown Begins to the April opening of The Music Hall Loft, a Center for Performing Arts, Literature, and Education

Community invited to tour the new space and celebrate major cultural advancement in downtown Portsmouth at a Community Open House hosted by The Board of Trustees Sunday, April 10, 2-8 pm

Online giving is launched on new Music Hall Website

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, March 10, 2011:  As The Music Hall begins its count down to the launch of The Music Hall Loft, its new Center for Performing Arts, Literature, and Education, its Treasure the Future capital campaign is stepping out into the community to advance its fundraising efforts.

Said Treasure the Future Campaign Co-Chair Jameson French, “Through its infancy back in the mid 1980s up until this day, The Music Hall has been a community project, supported and advanced by the generosity of all sorts of individuals – from business leaders who set up challenge gifts to individual patrons throwing money in the hat at end of a show. As we look to the success of this major campaign it is, again, all about the community and individuals’ support for bringing arts to the community.”

The move to a community phase comes with the announcement of several major advancements in fundraising. Chief among them is a $1,000,000 pledge to the Treasure the Future campaign from the Thomas W. Haas Foundation of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. Additionally the campaign has received several major six figure gifts and legacy pledges bringing the campaign total to $11.4 million in funds raised.  In addition to the on-the-ground community effort, the Campaign Committee continues to pursue other major gifts with a number of key prospects. “The Committee’s work on major gifts combined with our efforts in the community bring us within sight of our goal,” said Director of Institutional Advancement and Campaign lead, Laura Smith.

“To see the completion of the capital projects, we need to raise $1 million in new funds in the final phase of the campaign.  On the way to the finish, we’ll see many intermediate steps. We’re on the road to meeting a mini-challenge set for our opera audience.  Last week with the launch of our new website we now have the capacity to accept donations online at http://www.themusichall.org/support_us (click “Donate to the Campaign.”)  We’re planning outreach to all Music Hall members and patrons.  In the weeks ahead all our members and audiences will be invited to an open house in the new Music Hall Loft hosted by the Board of Trustees on Sunday, April 10.  The open house will be a show-and-tell for the new space. It’s also where the campaign will truly be launched for the community,” added Smith.

“We’ve achieved this milestone of $11.4 million with major donors, board members, staff and a number of corporations and downtown businesses digging deep in support of The Music Hall. They have inspired and challenged us to step out further into the community and gather support from all our patons and members.  This is truly everyone’s Music Hall and every gift gets us closer to realizing our goal. We look forward to everyone joining in and to the fun of seeing donors recognized on our donor wall by generations to come,” said Campaign Co-Chair Gail VanHoy Carolan.

“Not since the historic theater was threatened by a wrecking ball in 1980s have we seen such a transformation in the scope of The Music Hall and its work in the community. With the Music Hall Loft space nearly complete, we are already seeing its powerful effect on the city and on the broader region. Shows are selling out before the paint is even dry! But, more important, more and more individuals are stepping forward to offer support. They know as we do this is a rare opportunity for any individuals who wants to make their mark and support the future of the arts and education as we experience and treasure them in this special community,” said Executive Director Patricia Lynch. 

About The Treasure the Future Campaign

The Treasure the Future capital campaign will transform The Music Hall into a performing arts center for the 21st century, providing for
essential updating and modernization of backstage systems - securing The Music Hall’s performance capability & safety;
extension of the theater’s historic finishes into the upper lobby and modernization of the concession stand; upgrading of the building’s façade and windows and recreation of the original chandelier and olio curtain;
the fit-up of The Loft, a Center for Performing Arts, Literature, & Education;
and the establishment of The Music Hall’s first endowment.

About The Music Hall: An American Treasure for the Arts

The Music Hall is a nonprofit performing arts center that entertains 100,000 patrons, including 20,000 school children, annually with acclaimed film, music, theater, and dance performances. Its historic 900-seat theater, built in 1878, is the oldest in New Hampshire and designated an “American Treasure” by the U.S. Senate in the Save America’s Treasures Program administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Park Service. Living out its mission to be an active and vital arts center for the enrichment of the Seacoast community, The Music Hall presents diverse and relevant programming, including its signature series and innovative community outreach programs, and hosts numerous community fundraisers and celebrations for the benefit of more than 40 local nonprofits.  A cultural anchor in a thriving Seacoast economy, The Music Hall and its patrons contribute $5.5 million annually to the local economy through show and visitor related spending. The Music Hall is a 501c3 tax exempt, fiscally responsible nonprofit organization, managed by a professional staff with the assistance of a dedicated volunteer Board of Trustees. The historic hall is located in Portsmouth, the seaport city recently named a “Distinctive Destination” for 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation and one of the “20 Best Towns in America” by Outside magazine (July 2008).

For interviews, please contact Margaret Talcott, Director of Strategic Communications at 603-433-3100x5013 or at

(603) 436-2400
24-hour Film Line:
(603) 436-9900
Business Office:
(603) 433-3100