Sunday, April 24, 2016

C Street Brass to Help Carnegie Carnegie Celebrate 115th Anniversary

C Street Brass

Not all of us reach, let alone truly celebrate advanced old age birthdays. Even fewer do so looking lovelier, being exponentially more vibrant and in the best physical shape of our lives.

But that’s exactly how the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie feels on the cusp of its 115th birthday!  The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall officially opened its doors on May 1, 1901.  It is celebrating the occasion with a band that combines world class musicianship with world class showmanship

  Peoples Natural Gas Presents C Street Brass takes place Saturday, April 30th at 7:30 p.m.  C Street Brass, which began as a small music project amongst five friends, proved at the ACFL&MH’s annual benefit concert last October that they know how to command a stage, delight an audience and work magic with their horns.

“I had no idea that five horns could sound that gorgeous or that five horn players could be so much fun!” recalls ACFL&MH Executive Director Maggie Forbes.

C Street connects lovers of the arts from all walks of life around a unique and innovative concert experience.  The group prides itself on being equally as comfortable in the sound world of baroque music as it is in dubstep (electronic dance music). Through constant performance focused on discovery and growth C Street Brass continues to expand the limits of what is possible with five brass instruments.

Members of the quintet are Kyle Anderson on trumpet; Hakeem Bilal on bass trombone; Gabriel Colby on trombone; Joe Hughes on French horn; and Scott Nadelson on trumpet.

Peoples Natural Gas Presents: C Street Brass features baroque, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein and Billy Joel to name a few.  It’s a program guaranteed to bring the audience to its feet! C Street tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door, $15 for students. Their concert will be followed by a cash bar reception in the Studio.  Mt. Pleasant based Helltown Brewing is bringing the beer.**********300 Beechwood Avenue Carnegie, PA 15106-2699 (412) 276-3456Fax: (412) 276-9472

Carnegie Borough legally incorporated on March 1, 1894.  Seven years later, Andrew Carnegie’s legacy gift to the town that took his named opened its doors. The now defunct Carnegie Union ran a front page story (complete with capitalization idiosyncrasies) on April 26, 1901. The Library will be open to the public on May 1st at 9 a.m. Residents of Carnegie over fourteen years of age may secure application blanks at the following places: Thompson’s drug store, corner Washington avenue and Main Street; Hardy’s drug store, corner Fourth avenue and Chartiers street Valley Pharmacy, corner Fourth avenue and Third street, and “Item” and UNION offices. 

Children’s application blanks will be given out by the teachers, or may be obtained at the Library after April 28th.Fill out your application blank IN INK, bring or send it to the Library after April 28th, or mail it now, addressing it (on the bank side) to the Librarian, and affixing a 1cent stamp on the upper right-hand corner....The Librarian expects to have 3000 or more volumes ready for public use by opening day.

There were no trees on the Library’s grounds in 1901. Charles Wright, the ACFL’s first Library Director earned $1,400 per year.  Lola Davis, the Children’s Librarian salary was $500.  After he left his position, Mr. Wright married Miss Davis.  The world was a very different place, but Mr. Carnegie’s extraordinary gift to Carnegie Borough and its citizenry endures.

The Andrew Carnegie Free Library is one of only five libraries in the world that Andrew Carnegie endowed. The other endowed libraries are in Dunfermline, Scotland (Carnegie’s home town), Braddock (the first Carnegie Library in America), Homestead and Duquesne (torn down in the 1960s). 

Carnegie operated steel mills in these three Mon Valley communities. Carnegie went on to fund 2,500 libraries around the world.  But everywhere else, he funded buildings.  He gave Pittsburgh its grand building in Oakland in 1895 with the understanding that the City run the library: hence public library.

Income from Mr. Carnegie’s initial $100,000 endowment gift proved insufficient almost immediately.  Decades of poverty and water damage ravaged the grand facility.  Despite its extraordinary legacy and always beautiful bone structure, some people believed the building should be demolished.  Fortunately, many more believed fervently to the contrary. But survival was a struggle.  Thirty years ago the Library & Music Hall had $136 in its checking account after payroll.  Then the Chartiers Valley Partnership (CVP), a group spearheaded by a couple of Carnegie High School Class of 1951 graduates, launched an ambitious capital campaign in late 2003 with a $500,000 challenge grant. 

The stipulation from the anonymous donor was that the community must contribute a dollar for dollar match to secure the grant.  They had ten months to do so.  In mid-September, the campaign was just $45,000 short when disaster struck.  On September 17, 2004 flooding caused by Hurricane Ivan devastated Carnegie.  But almost mythically, in the two weeks between the flood and the September 30 deadline, the community contributed $60,000 to meet and exceed its goal.  The ACFL&MH had its first $1 million.
The campaign has gone on to raise more than $8 million. The building is structurally sound, weatherproof and accessible. The acoustically superb Music Hall is graced with comfortable new seats and a light-filled lobby. The ACFL&MH’s national treasure of a Civil War room was meticulously restored in 2010. The Library was air conditioned in 2011.  Later that year the waterlogged gym was converted into “urban hipster,” multi-purpose programming space. 

On Presidents Day 2015 the ACFL&MH opened its Lincoln Gallery.  Last October, board, staff and community came together to celebrate the interior restoration of the Library. 

Carnegie Borough has the loveliest library in Allegheny County! The ACFL&MH is not finished.  The full restoration of the Music Hall and major improvements t othe grounds, parking and exterior lighting remain.

But on April 30, the ACFL&MH celebrates with C Street Brass!#######Free shuttle service from Carnegie’s Main Street Parking lots. (Parking is free, permit parking restrictions are waived evenings and weekends.) For e tickets and more detailed information visit or call 412-276-3456.Listen Locally: The 115th Anniversary Season is also made possible through the generosity the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust of The Pittsburgh Foundation

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