You should go test out the new Audi seats

These seats are so comfy the project's gopher mascot sure does enjoy them. Tim Goodwin
These seats are so comfy the project's gopher mascot sure does enjoy them. Tim Goodwin

With gratitude to our generous and caring community, The Friends of The Audi are pleased to announce the completion of our 2016-17 project, restoration of the theatre’s historic seats – all 850 of them!

Starting with the August Pitch In’s bulk mail announcement and the Season Opening GALA’s introduction of the project’s symbol – the Audi Gopher, the Seat Restoration Project has met all its goals and deadlines. Imagine: $105,000 raised in five months with no paid staff and a campaign costing less than $800!

We are most grateful to Concord’s Wonder Woman – Betty Hoadley. On day one she offered to chair the project and brought the “Gopher the Best Seats in the House” tagline to community attention by creating the gopher logo and writing his story. She then spread the word at every opportunity, from children’s coloring contests to reporting the progress on ConcordTV and at City Council meetings from September to February.

The thank you list spreads across the capital area. It includes the 350 donors named on the reception lobby board, soon to be inscribed on a plaque.

The in-kind contributions include the Audi’s “Famous Cookie Bakers” – the Hospitality Committee, led by Joanie McIntire, whose cookie jars at the Audi shows overflowed; the artistic work provided by Jim Webber, Tess Hodges, Kristie Badjie and Chelsea Hoadley; the hundreds of cast and crew members at the two benefit shows – the GALA and the 2017 Rhythm of the Night, led by Miranda Milano and David Murdo, which danced the fund-raising goal right over the top!

The project succeeded with the assistance of City Manager Tom Aspell and Deputy Fire Chief Sean Toomey; Esther Crowley, who led the first planning meeting (where Allwynne Fine suggested the gopher symbol) and then served as project accountant with Merwyn Bagan, the Friends Treasurer.

In addition, we acknowledge our great good fortune in selecting David Eckstein of Bartholomew Contract Interiors of Hartford, Conn., as the vendor. His appreciation and respect for the historical character of the theatre and the project kept the work on track while never closing the theatre. Now just one bit of work is left: storage of the extra seats prepared for possible future needs.

Each seat cost $104. In the Audi’s “one brick at a time” custom where every gift counts, we restored “one seat at a time” with donations ranging from loose change in the cookie jar to grants from the N.H. State Council on the Arts, Madelaine G. Von Webber Charitable Trust, Cogswell Benevolent Trust, Bagan Foundation and Concord Rotary Foundation.

Perhaps a thousand people – donors, dancers, bakers, presenters, audiences – enabled the extraordinary success of this project. We look forward to welcoming them back to enjoy our city’s own theatre in the comfort and safety of the beautiful seats they have given us all.

Steven MeierPresident, The Friends of The Audi

Author: Insider Staff

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