Inside the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall & Arts Center, works of art grow like flowers in a greenhouse. Amid the Mary Collier Baker Theater’s rich wood paneling and burgundy upholstery, symphony concerts burst to life, fed by stunning acoustics. The Margaret W. and Joseph L. Fisher Art Gallery, on the other hand, lets the work hanging on the walls do the talking, trumpeting the skills of local visionaries as they explore the bounds of aesthetic media.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
The Grammy-winning Washington Chorus has delighted audiences with a repertoire of classical choral masterpieces and modern compositions for 51 years. In addition to leading the choir, music director Julian Wachner has scribed more than 100 published compositions, including "Come, My Dark-Eyed One," an amalgamation of poetry and a dramatic musical score. Acclaimed singers tell the tale of lovers whose great passion transcends death, their melodious voices reflecting the powerful emotions and increasingly expensive anniversary gifts of a lifelong love. Words by Dickinson, Tennyson, and Turkic poet Ali-Shir Nava’i instill the performance with additional resonance. Four soloists join the choir to sing Mozart’s bold Great Mass in C Minor, widely credited as being the composer’s best choral work alongside the Requiem and Rock Me Amadeus.
When visitors enter the two-story lobby of the Hylton Performing Arts Center, their eyes dart from the purple carpeting to the stately pillars—all accented by light streaming in from the windowed exterior. Inside the 85,000-square-foot events center, ballet performances unfold in the dramatically modern hall, toes tap along with cabaret shows in the intimate theater space, and exhibits by local artists and dexterous stagehands open windows to other worlds in the second-floor art gallery.