Welcome to the Dolard & Priscilla Gendron Franco Center’s Performance Hall. At the moment it’s one of Maine’s largely unheralded performing arts venues, but we’re out to change that. As more people hear about and attend concerts in this physically and acoustically lush room, the more that word is getting out about our magnificent space. Each season we feature four concerts by the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra, three more by the Maine Music Society (with each repeated in a Sunday matinée), the annual (and growing) Emerge Film Festival, six piano recitals featuring New England’s best classical pianists, such as Michael Lewin, Igor Lovchinsky, Mauro Bertoli, and more. Individual concerts by artists like mezzo-soprano Joëlle Morris, and groups such as the Rustic Overtones and the New York Funk Exchange, along with dozens of other events also occur throughout the season. We have previously had comedy acts come to the center that we hope to see come back soon, including Bob Marley, Krazy Jake, Late Nite Catachism, and more.
While the room boasts a state of the art sound system, very few of these events require much in the way of amplification. In fact, most of those listed in the above paragraph do not require any at all. With room for 428 patrons to sit comfortably in plush theater seats — with not a bad one in the house, acoustically or visually — concerts in the Performance Hall are simultaneously grand and yet intimate affairs. If you’ve been here, you know. If you have not, we promise you that your first visit is unlikely be your last.
And thanks to the generosity of one of our major sponsors, Central Maine Hearing Center, even those with hearing impairments can enjoy the marvelous acoustics of the Performance Hall. In January 2013, CMHC installed a “hearing loop” system under the lower seating section of the hall. This system amplifies the room’s natural sound and allows those with cochlear implants or newer hearing aids containing telecoils (or “t-coils”) to hear every little note. And if someone’s hearing aid is an older model not outfitted with a t-coil, we have six battery-powered sets of earphones available for patrons to borrow that accomplish the same task — just ask at the box office.
Artists will enjoy the large and comfortable green room away from the audience in which to relax before the show. Our friendly wait staff will accommodate your every need, and our knowledgeable technical staff will plan with you weeks in advance of your performance to ensure that the stage, the lights and the sound are just the way you want them. For a nominal per-ticket fee of $3 each, artists or their agents who want to rent the hall and yet leave the job of ticket sales and order fulfillment to us may do so. And pianists will delight at the prospect of performing on our nine-foot Steinway & Sons Series D concert grand piano, purchased new in 2006 and selected specifically to complement the natural acoustics of the hall. The sound is simply amazing!