Chenery Auditorium serves the diverse needs of dozens of area organizations for talent shows, theatre, comedy nights, recitals, lectures, travelogues, and music and dance performances. As a part of the former Central High School, it was built in the 1920s. From its inception, the auditorium has been a venue for big band concerts and touring symphonies. The Friends of Chenery, a group of citizen volunteers, have been helping to raise millions of dollars over the past 10 years to renovate and restore the beautiful landmark. This Kalamazoo Gazette article details the $8 million renovation plans, announced April 2010. In May 2011, during National Preservation Month, the Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission recognized the rehabilitation of Chenery Auditorium in in the category of commercial/institutional/government property.
What can you expect when you visit Chenery Auditorium? First, you can enter from either the Dutton Street entrance or the regular Westnedge entrance. The Dutton Street entrance has a totally new marquee and pillars. The Westnedge entrance has new doors. Next, you will notice that there are only four aisles, in place of the usual five. Ticket takers will greet you at the door for your aisle. As you enter the aisle for your seat, you will go through a second set of doors. These doors help keep outside sound and light from interrupting the program you are watching. A new, wider seat awaits you. Many acoustic improvements have been completed including a new orchestra shell. New railing inserts improve viewing. Most lighting has been moved to the back of the Gallery, providing less obstructions. New lighting instruments have been installed. The orchestra pit has been remodeled to provide more space for the orchestra. Air conditioning of the auditorium and stage keep the audience and performers comfortable when the weather heats up. Don’t miss out! There are many opportunities to enjoy yourself at Chenery Auditorium throughout the year.