Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

New Archive Room Showcases A Legacy That Still Rings True Today

Oct 08, 2015 | Posted in News

Buffalo, NY – Today, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and Kleinhans Music Hall opened an historical exhibit in honor of the Music Hall’s 75th Anniversary. The new Kleinhans Music Hall Archive Room celebrates the longstanding relationship between these two partners and the creation of this important cultural asset in Western New York. In April, the Community Foundation marked the Music Hall's anniversary with a $75,000 grant to build an archive room and preserve pieces of the structure’s past.

Kleinhans Music Hall was built thanks to the generosity and vision of Edward and Mary Seaton Kleinhans and the stewardship of their charitable dreams by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. In the 1930s, the Community Foundation was bequeathed the estates of Edward and Mary Seaton Kleinhans who made their fortune from the clothing store that bore their name. Mr. and Mrs. Kleinhans passed away within three months of each other in 1934.

Upon their untimely deaths, Mr. and Mrs. Kleinhans stated in their Will that it was their wish to build a music hall for the enjoyment and benefit of the people of Western New York. Based upon the Kleinhans’ wish, the Community Foundation immediately began working with the City of Buffalo to see the Kleinhans’ vision through. Kleinhans Music Hall officially opened on October 12, 1940 with a concert debut by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

“For 96 years the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has worked tirelessly on behalf of clients who have asked the Foundation to manage their charitable assets and carry on their legacy, according to their wishes, forever,” said Community Foundation President/CEO, Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker. “Edward and Mary Seaton Kleinhans entrusted the Foundation to ensure their vision of building a world-class music hall for our community. We are proud to continue honoring their legacy 75 years later and make it possible for all who enter Kleinhans to share and learn about its rich history.”

The archive room was created to preserve important pieces of the Music Hall’s history and to tell the story of how Mr. and Mrs. Kleinhans’ dream came to life. Thanks to several generous anonymous donors, one of the items on display in the archive room is the album of 220 silver printed photographs of the 1930s Kleinhans clothing store window displays. The photo album was secured at a New York City auction by the Community Foundation and introduced to the public last spring.

“To this day we are grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Kleinhans for trusting in the Community Foundation to carry on their legacy so that we are able to have this extraordinary music hall in our community for everyone to enjoy,” said Kleinhans Music Hall board chairman, Christopher Brown. “The Community Foundation remains a committed partner in protecting and sharing this wonderful cultural asset and we’re excited that all visitors will benefit from the new archive room that will preserve our shared history for generations to come.”

Additionally, the Community Foundation made a $250,000 Program Related Investment (PRI) to the Kleinhans Music Hall Revitalization Project, specifically in support of its seat replacement initiative. A PRI is a little-to-no-interest loan that gives an organization the necessary capital needed to complete a community project with the intent of repayment. Kleinhans Music Hall will utilize the PRI to complete its new seating project.

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