The grand chandelier, donated by Swarovski Crystal, after its first official lighting.
With the words “Let their be light,” the Strand Theater in downtown Plattsburgh took another step on its grand restoration project.
To a three-stage drum roll, the three tiers of lights of the chandlier that dominates the interior of the 1924 Vaudeville theater came to life from bottom to top, to the delight of the abundant crowd in attendance.
“The Strand will proudly join Swarovski Lighting’s portfolio of cultural restorations world-wide, such as the chandeliers of the Palace of Versailles, in France, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City,” said Lee Pray, Human Resources Director for Swarovski Lighting.
The 96-lamp fixture was donated by Swarovski Lighting, following up on a promise made by Alice and Andrew Schonbek. Their company, Schonbek Lighting, was bought by Sworovski in the middle of the restoration project.
“So Swarovski was an unknown (to us), and we weren’t sure what their commitment to the community would be, or how they would give back,” said Leigh Mundy, Chairman of the Board of the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts, which owns the Strand. “I’m here to tell you that their commitment is high.”
Along with designing and building the chandelier, based solely on a description in the opening night paper, Swarovski donated two chandeliers for the lobby, three crystal fixtures underneath the balcony, along with several wall sconces. They also undertook restoration of several of the existing wall sconces and leaded glass fixtures, restoring and painting them to match the new fixtures.
The Strand was purchased in 2004 by the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts, who undertook a $3.6 million restoration project financed through donations and Historic Preservation grants. The project is only $500,000 from completion, and is expected to officially open in the spring.
“We’re almost there. We’re working, and we’ve started the construction already. The basement needs to be made into dressing rooms, and then we need to outfit this place. We need everything so that the Strand can be a viable, working business,” Mundy said.