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Hochstein’s performance hall under construction



Rochester, New York – In order to repair water damage, the performance hall at The Hochenstein School is under construction.

According to the school, water had been leaking through the roof, and the leaks had begun to erode the plaster.

The facilities manager at the school, Randy Kemp, said that the repairs had been in the planning stages, but a message from above told him it was time. “We had a section that fell on stage, there was a lady out on stage playing piano, and this crashed to the floor, looked over, finished what she was doing,” he said. “Then she came and found me and said ‘Randy the sky is falling.’”

The Hochstein School in Rochester is home to hundreds of music lessons, incredible performances, and community work throughout the year. The work at present is right on time, Kemp said. He and the school have been working with a number of partners to keep an incredibly tight deadline. They started the work on July 1st, and Kemp says it needs to be good to go by September.

According to Kemp, the historic space — which traces its lineage back to Central Presbyterian in the 1880s — had its most recent renovation in 1997. Besides plaster repairs, they are also making other fixes, as well as giving the space a fresh coat of paint and refinished hardwood floors.

Also included is a new mural, drawn freehand by Buffalo artist Brett Swiatek. Kemp says that Kemp is drawing the new mural based only on a historical drawing. The new addition will help both breathe life into a historical place and pay homage to its past. “Everything to make it sparkle,” said Hilary Respass, The Hochstein School’s current President & Executive Director. She took over the role from Peggy Quackenbush, who officially retired earlier this year.

“There’s nothing to fix, only things to build on,” Respass said, reflecting on the accomplishments and legacy of her predecessor. She is looking forward to her first school year as the executive director.

“I haven’t experienced my first Saturday here,” she said. “This place just bursts with activity and everyone is centered around the joy of music making and dance making together. That’s what makes this place very very special.”