Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Allfred Village Bandstand

For decades, musicians and the residents of Alfred would gather on a lawn of Alfred University by the Kanakadea Creek, behind the Brick to celebrate the arts and the community. After many years of planning, a Bandstand was erected to transform the lawn into an official gathering ground in 1982.

The Bandstand was an idea created by the Alfred Village Band conductor, Joe Canale of Alfred State College. At this time in 1982, Alfred held a week of music on the Alfred University lawn for 30 years every June, and Canale wanted a building to celebrate the music and arts of the town of Alfred. At first, there were many years of planning this structure, and when it came into fruition, the project was not as simple as the crew had previously hoped. Philip Prigmore of Alfred was the architect for the bandstand, however, Canale was unhappy with his design of the "gazebo." In a letter to Prigmore, Joe Canale said that he was "very disturbed at the way [the] project [is turning] out," and "while that it may be a building of aesthetic beauty," it is "impractical as a music performance area" due to the amount of beams used in the structure. He said the current design would "alienate the musician as well as those who enjoy the summer programs and who have contributed to the cost of the gazebo." Despite Canale's complaints, the design of the bandstand remained the same, but minus two pillars in the front of the walkway. Canale was also unhappy with the project because of the unforeseen expenses involved and it possibly not being done on time due to lack of lumber.

Many volunteers from the town of Alfred and Alfred State College worked on the bandstand because of growing expenses. The foundation was unaligned and some of the work did not meet design specifications and had to be redone. Besides monetary expenses, it was also found that two large trees near the site were rotting and they feared they would fall on the roof of the bandstand. Donations were needed to complete the project, and $1600 was raised the previous summer by various organizations and persons.

The Alfred Village Bandstand was constructed in wood with terra cotta tiles on most of the roof, except for the front part made of wood shingles due to lacking funds. In a letter from Alan Littel, an Alfred local and director of the Fiat Lux at the time, said in a letter that, "A spokesman for the bandstand committee said the structure would not be painted. Instead, he said, it will be allowed to weather naturally." Although many problems arose in the construction of the pavilion, it was completed on time.

In 1998, the bandstand was in need of restoration, and Tom and Jo Ann Kester Ingle funded the refurbishment of the building. According to the Hornell Evening Tribune (8/20/1998), the "facelift" would include "replacing the roof trellis and floorboards, cleaning and staining the support beams, refinishing the floorboards in the main section of the bandstand, replacing the plywood steps on the north end with red brick, and laying red brick from the south end to the existing pathway to campus." A small stone wall was also added to the south end of the bandstand in dedication to the Ingles.

In the summer of 2009, the bridge that linked the bandstand to the parking lot of The Brick over the Kanakadea Creek was torn down and a fence put up. The Alfred Village Bandstand represents many thing to both the Alfred community and the students of the town. Concerts are held as well as plays and dance recitals in the summer months, but it is also used a lounge area for people of all ages. Although some still view the bandstand as impractical for musical use, it is a treasure of Alfred Village and a poignant place for all who know about it.

All references are from the Alfred University Archives at Herrick Library (special thanks to Laurie McFadden).

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