OUR MISSION: Impact. Partner. Create.
The Stissing Center seeks to positively impact our community by partnering with artists, individuals, and organizations to create meaningful programs, events, and opportunities. As a center for diversity, culture, and civic life in a small town, The Stissing Center aims to support local economic revitalization and job creation in Pine Plains and the surrounding Hudson Valley region.
The Stissing Center opened its doors to the public in late summer 2019 with a Construction Concert Series, featuring a benefit concert with Wynton Marsalis and a Grand Opening Community “Surprise Party” and Ribbon Cutting. With these events, The Stissing Center began to define its place as the center of artistic and cultural life in Pine Plains and Northern Dutchess County.
2020 was looking good. We were getting ready to welcome folks back for more live concerts and more live community events. Our first full Spring Season was scheduled, and the Fall’s was in the works.
Then, in mid-March, just days away from announcing our Spring lineup, everything changed. Like every other arts organization, and like everyone else, our plans came to an abrupt halt. Rather than retreat, we got busy and came up with our Plan B.
We changed course for the next 16 months produced virtual programming, including The Chair Series and LIVE! from The Stissing Center!, a summer chamber music series. The Stissing Summer Variety Show, a virtual fundraiser, premiered on August 29, 2020. These virtual performances continued into 2021, and they remain available on this site and our YouTube channel.
After almost a year and a half without a single live audience in our beautiful performance hall, The Stissing Center cracked open the doors. Part of our second annual LIVE! from The Stissing Center! series, we held two limited-seating concerts that were, this time, really LIVE! at The Stissing Center! Finally!
And, on August 23, 2021, TSC enthusiastically announced its first concert season in 18 months.
The Stissing Center is thrilled to announce their 2021 Fall Concert Series, Reopening The Doors, and to welcome back in-person audiences. The series boasts an impressive and diverse list of performers, curated to appeal to a variety of musical interests.
The season kicks off on Friday, September 10 with The Lucky 5, a hard-swinging jazz band with a modern twist.”We are super-pleased to have Bruce Molsky return to TSC with Tony Trischka. First time headliners include Jim Kweskin & Happy Traum, Sweet Megg, The Lucky 5, and the Misty Blues Band,” said Executive Director, Brian Keeler. “We are also welcoming the Stissing Theatre Guild back to TSC. They will present an evening of drama as they did in 2019.”
As a Halloween-time treat, Morricone Youth will play a live, multi-instrument soundtrack accompanying Alfred Hitchcock’s silent classic thriller, The Lodger. Two concerts with pianist Shai Wosner and Young Artists from Carnegie Ensemble Connect will round out our LIVE! from The Stissing Center! chamber music series.
“Reopening The Doors marks a special time for all of us at The Stissing Center. Along with these great concerts, we’re also hosting a Square Dance to cap off the Ag Fair Weekend with ticket proceeds going to the Pine Plains FFA,” said Liz Raum, Director of Live Events. “And the Jukebox Junkies will kick off the holidays with a rockin’ dance party.”
HOW WE GOT HERE
Memorial Hall, the original name of our building, was constructed in 1915 and given to the Town of Pine Plains in memory of John McIntyre, his wife Elizabeth Hauver and their children, by their philanthropic granddaughter, Mary Ellen Lapham Saunders who grew up in Pine Plains with her grandparents. For the better part of the 20th century, Pine Plains was defined by the cultural events and happenings at Memorial Hall.
The majestic brick building on Church Street stood tall and proud as a symbol of the town’s important place in the region. According to the original certificate of incorporation, Memorial Hall was, among its many uses…
“…to be used for the purpose of lodge meetings, lectures, concerts, banquets, fairs, celebrations, play, entertainments” and “public and private meetings of any kind permitted by law, and for public libraries, reading rooms, gymnasiums and for the filing and storing and keeping of the records and papers and property of the Town of Pine Plains…and for any purposed deemed beneficial for the public.”
It was well used for dances and clambakes, movies, concerts, minstrel shows, theatre, square dances, and even periodically to send soldiers off to war and to receive them home after their service. In 1935 it was remodeled and reopened as “The Pine Plains Theatre”, where it became a first-run movie house showing Hollywood films until the early 1960’s. Sold again in the 1970’s and subdivided for use by a coffee shop, hair salon, laundromat, and offices, the hall again fell into disuse and disrepair in the 1990’s.
More than a century after its construction, and in order to save the building from demolition, Memorial Hall was purchased in 2014 at auction by a group of three local supporters. Their goal was for it to be restored and returned it to its original purpose, as the hub of the regional community and a beacon of cultural vibrance and civic pride. It was donated in 2015 to the recently established Pine Plains Memorial Hall, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
In May 2019, the building was renamed The Stissing Center.
SUPPORT THE STISSING CENTER
Like all non-profits, we need to constantly raise funds through donations and grants. These funds are necessary to keep our organization running, and to complete important renovations and future construction.
For example, early 2021 saw the installation of our new HVAC system and sound system. We are presently designing and creating a second performance space, The Cellar at the Center, where we will host more intimate gatherings, meetings, films, and community events. The lower level will also be home to a kitchen.
A much larger project calls for a new rear extension that will house an elevator, dressing rooms, additional restrooms, and a new entrance to the building, and top floor renovations will create spaces for artists and for other non-profits to deliver much needed services to the region.
We could not be here today without the generous support of more than 1,000 donors. You can add your name to the list.
There are exciting times ahead for TSC. To take a tour of The Stissing Center and/or become a major benefactor, please contact our Director of Development, Misha Donner, or our Executive Director, Brian Keeler.
With the continued support of the local community, our generous donors, sponsors, and patrons, The Stissing Center will be able to achieve its goals of local economic revitalization and job creation, all in service of the people of Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster counties and the entire Hudson Valley region.