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YOUNGSTOWN SYMPHONY CENTER Large gift leads to name change



Published: Wed, July 6, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



A pavilion and recital hall project are slated for completion by April 2006.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The Youngstown Symphony Center -- home of the Edward W. Powers Auditorium, Adler Art Academy, and a pavilion and recital hall under construction -- is getting a new name.

The facility will be known as the DeYor Performing Arts Center, named for Denise DeBartolo York and her husband, Dr. John York.

The couple gave a "generous contribution" in excess of $1 million to the facility's capital campaign, said Patricia C. Syak, executive director of the Youngstown Symphony. The Symphony Society has owned the former Warner Brothers Theatre on West Federal Street since 1968.

The Yorks, of Canfield, whose DeBartolo Corp. owns the San Francisco 49ers, prefer not to disclose the amount of money they gave to capital campaign. When asked if it was the largest contribution in the center's history, Syak declined to comment.

"We are pleased to help enhance the Youngstown Symphony Center and look forward to everyone working together to return our downtown area to its former vibrancy," the couple said in a prepared statement.

The couple has been very generous with their contributions to the center over the years, but this was their largest, Syak said.

"A gift this size comes with naming rights," she said.

The Yorks decided on the "DeYor" name, Syak said.

Marquee project

To recognize the gift, the Symphony Society will rehabilitate the West Federal Street marquee, Syak said. It will combine traditional with new, she said, by restoring the marquee to its original 1931 design with computerized writing.

The marquee project is in the design phase, and it isn't known when it will be finished, Syak said.

The society has a history of honoring major benefactors going back to 1968 when Edward W. and Alice Powers provided $250,000 the society needed to buy the former Warner Brothers Theatre, and save it from being demolished and turned into a parking lot.

The facility has and is undergoing a major capital renovation and expansion program during the past five years. The York's contribution brings the center very close to its $11 million goal to fund the improvements, Syak said.

The capital improvement money was used to make improvements to Powers Auditorium, as well as the box office, new restrooms, an elevator, and a new administrative office and music library to the society's east wing.

The society also used capital improvement money to establish the Adler Art Academy in September 2003 as the headquarters of the Students Motivated by the Arts (SMARTS) program.

Instructional classrooms

The academy houses a variety of classrooms for instruction in art education, studios for dance, rooms for music lessons, and facilities for visual and fine arts such as painting, sculpture and photography.

The Eleanor Beecher Flad Pavilion will become the performance home for the Youngstown State University Dana School of Music, SMARTS, the Youngstown Symphony Youth Orchestra and Symphonettes, and other community arts organizations. The pavilion will also be the home of the 600-seat Ford Family Recital Hall. The pavilion is expected to open in April 2006.

The auditorium, art academy, pavilion and recital hall will keep their names, Syak said.

While the effort to raise money for the society's capital improvements is slowing down, the organization will continue to seek funds, primarily for musical instruments, Syak said.

For example, the society has one Steinway Concert Grand Piano Model D, the largest piano made by the company. The piano needs repair work, she said. The society wants to purchase two others, each costing about $100,000, and move its current piano to its Green Room and used for practice, Syak said.

skolnick@vindy.com




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