One of the most – and at the same time least – exciting moments in the transformation of the old Warner Grand Theater into a new concert hall for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is slated to take place on Tuesday, Aug. 13.
Beginning at about 7:30 a.m., the seven-story, brick wall that is the back wall of the stage area in the theater, will be moved 35 feet east, to help create not only more space on the stage and behind it, but also to help ensure good acoustics for the orchestra in a hall that was designed for films.
The wall will not be dismantled, but moved intact as one single piece, as required by the National Parks Service, which has in its purview the renovation of historically designated buildings receiving historic tax credits.
An interior view of the wall.
Last fall, workers removed terra cotta balconettes and other architectural details for safekeeping during the process.
The move is exciting because it’s a rare procedure.
But considering it is expected to require about seven hours – it takes about 30 minutes to move about five feet, then another half hour to reset the hydraulic system for the next spurt – it will also be a rather repetitive, slow-moving process to witness.
The MSO purchased the building in 2017 and broke ground on the renovation project in June 2018.
Second Street has been closed to traffic since work began. When the project is complete, the street will be narrower than before.
The theater renovation is expected to be complete by summer 2020, with a projected opening in September.
A Facebook event page has been created for the move.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.