Parrsboro Bandhall Project
Lori Lynch, Chair
Parrsboro Band Association
The hall began its life in 1894 when it was built by the Presbyterian congregation of Parrsboro. Its design was simple and elegant, typical of the period and constructed by the artisans of the period who were steeped in the local tradition of ship building. Not long after its construction the annex was added to one side to provide room for a growing congregation.
After the union of the Presbyterian and Methodist churches into the United Church of Canada, the church was turned over to the school system and used for many years as a classroom and gymnasium of sorts. It also served the community as a dance hall and finally became the home of the Parrsboro Citizens’ Band in the late sixties and stayed as such until very recently when a group of citizens, concerned that the hall had fallen into disrepair and could possibly fall to the wreckers ball, put their energy to work to revitalize the society holding the property and to develop a vision of how this historic building, long a focal point of the community, might continue to serve Parrsboro and the surrounding communities.
The vision for the hall includes the following: a) restoration and preservation of the architectural elements of the building, ensuring that the craftsmanship of construction is preserved for future generations to admire; b) conversion of the hall on the main level to a civic cultural centre complete with state of the art technical stage components; and c) demonstrating to the larger community (Nova Scotia) the process by which an historic building such as ours might be preserved and continue to contribute to an elevated quality of life for the community it serves.
Over the past four years the Parrsboro Band Association has refined its vision and has made tremendous forward progress on the restoration and renovation of The Hall. Usage has increased by the Association and other community groups and individuals; the Film Society has now hosted three highly successful Film Festivals and plans are underway to repeat in the fall of 2014; community involvement with the youth of the community has been enhanced and the Parrsboro Junior Citizens' Band has taken on a new a vibrant life. A Parrsboro Citizens' Choir has been formed and has already made itself an integral part of numerous community events.
The building itself has had structural defects repaired. A fully accessible washroom and ramp have been added; the exterior has been repainted in the original 1894 heritage paint scheme; the roof has been replaced; and the interior has been repainted in a bright cheerful colour, encouraging more and more use of the facility. As well as a new sound system, a large close-to-professional lighting system has been added which, when controlled -- along with the projection equipment -- from the newly installed control booth at the rear of the auditorium, makes The Hall a presentation and entertainment location second to none in Cumberland County. One further effort currently underway is to install a hearing assistance system, which will make The Hall truly, fully accessible.
Now the Association has embarked on a “Green The Hall” project with an end goal of reducing the carbon footprint of the facility. One of the major efforts of this project is making no fewer than 22 windows in the main auditorium more energy efficient, at a projected cost of $50,000.
For current activities visit the Band Associations website. Prepare to be amazed by the remarkable progress being made. A quick look at the Strategic Plan on the website will reveal that this group is focussed and energetic and serious about preserving this historic property while turning it to contemporary uses.
To see why the citizens of Parrsboro and the Nova Scotia Heritage Trust have been so passionate about saving an historic building watch SAVE THE BAND HALL (YouTube Video - 2008)