Amp demo is not a ‘renovation’

Please inform the Chautauqua Music Teachers Association and remind your readers the National Historic Landmark Chautauqua Amphitheater, built in 1893, was demolished and sent to landfill in September 2016.

The Amp was the historic “heart” of the Chautauqua Institution, which hosted some of the greatest minds and cultural performers of the 20th century. Its beauty was expressed by an indescribable essence of summer in the form of wood, concrete, sound, and warm evening breezes.

This magical place was demolished and replaced by a faux historic replica. The Chautauqua Institution governing board, then led by Thomas Becker and supported by Joe Kanfer, Roger Goodell, Tom Hagen and other mega-donors decided their legacy and vanity were most important, and history and delight were not part of the Chautauqua experience, so they did away with a true American treasure.

They never explored historic restoration as a viable option and only tricked people into thinking it was a renovation or renewal project while ginning up support for of all things — an imitation that has all the new features that could have been updated on the original at a fraction of the cost.

Continuing to refer to it as a “renovated” structure is a sure way to revise history and only perpetuates the misinformation Tom Becker and the Chautauqua Institution would want you to believe.

Brian J. Berg is a Chautauqua resident.

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