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News and Events

Concert to Raise Funds to Restore Manhattan Auditorium

MANHATTAN — More than 100 Kansas State University students and faculty members will be performing Wednesday night during a fundraising concert to support the restoration of Peace Memorial Auditorium in Manhattan.

“Give My Regards to Broadway,” a 1 ½-hour concert featuring music by American composers, will showcase a jazz combo comprised of members of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity; K-State Tap, a troupe of 20-25 tap dancers; the K-State Singers; members of Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity; and Jerry Jay Cranford, theater instructor at K-State.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. with a social hour featuring the jazz combo, followed by the main concert at 7:30 p.m., both in Peace Memorial Auditorium, which is inside Manhattan’s city hall at 1101 Poyntz Ave.

The concert marks the second time Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, which has about 45 active members, has donated its time and talent to help raise money to restore the auditorium’s stage to its original grandeur.

“The object of our fraternity is to advance music in America. We advocate for the preservation of stages, not just for musicality reasons but for theater and dance,” said Chris Boxberger, a fraternity member from Chicago.

Boxberger said the December concert raised $2,000 and drew an audience of about 200 people.

“We are hoping on doubling that this time,” he said.

Peace Memorial Auditorium was built in the mid-1950s as a living memorial to the 2,610 Riley County veterans who served and the 101 soldiers who died in World War II.

In June, the Manhattan City Commission voted to move forward with a $2.9 million project that called for the removal of existing seating in the auditorium to create two floors of office space for the city’s parks and recreation department. The plan also proposed to take out the stage so more space could be created for two practice courts while maintaining the existing basketball court.

In September, the city commission voted to consider options to the renovation project after community members and veterans organizations voiced opposition to the project and the Historic Resources Board in Manhattan recommended a study be done to determine alternatives to the renovation plan.

“With basketball courts and offices, you no longer have an auditorium,” Kathy Dzewaltowski, president of the Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance, said. “We would lose a lot if we decide it’s no longer valuable.”

Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to upgrade the sound and lighting systems for the auditorium’s stage and install a plaque commemorating the soldiers from Riley County who died in WWII. Dzewaltowski said proponents of restoring the auditorium also are looking into grants that could help fund technology upgrades and facility improvements.

There is no charge for the concert, but donations, which are tax-deductible, will be accepted at the door. Donations also can be sent to the Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance, P.O. Box 1893, Manhattan, 66505.