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A green room to envy

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

Ty Marshall, left, executive director at the Center for the Arts of Homer, and Joe Cortese, vice chairman of the board of directors, prepare to lay a new oriental rug beneath new Stickley furniture in the center’s Green Room.

Ty Marshall said after 12 years of bringing national acts to the Center for the Arts of Homer, it’s only just named the Green Room after McNeil and Company — for the company’s years of donations to the center.

When McNeil and Company president, Dan McNeil, accepted that honor, he ordered all new Stickley furniture for the room, Marshall said.
“We are gob smacked by his generosity. We didn’t expect this.”

“You have to provide a Green Room for the artists,” said Marshall, executive director of the 72 S. Main St. center. It’s a place for musicians to prepare before going on stage, he said.

On Thursday, the brand new furniture was delivered from the Manlius company: An elegant wood buffet to serve refreshments, an oriental rug, two luxurious leather chairs and a modern striped couch. “Stickley is nothing but the best,” said Marshall.

“Before we had cobbled together furniture (for the space). Nothing matched. Even with the dingy furniture, acts said, ‘This is a nice room. And it’s actually green,’” Marshall said. “That was the joke.”

The center used to have a couple of classes in the room, for violin, piano. A piano was nestled in the corner. Center officials will be moving those classes into another area to preserve the room.

“Suddenly, the piano looks awful,” laughed Joe Cortese, board vice chairman. The Homer School District teacher will take over chairmanship of the board in January.

“We can’t be more excited,” said McNeil’s daughter, Lauren Davis, when she arrived Thursday with her husband, Derek. They came in Dan McNeil’s place to see the furniture. Her father couldn’t make it. “Just in time to see Tim Reynolds,” she said.

The lead guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band will be appearing in a sold out show tonight at the center.

Lauren Davis is on the Main Stage Committee at the center, part of a group that explores musical acts the center wants to attract.

Her father, a drummer, attended college at LeMoyne University (like she and Derek) and used to book the bands at the college. He loves music, she said.

Cortese said Derek Davis volunteered to return to the center and give the green room a new coat of paint, in “McNeil Teal.”
The C4Arts also benefits from P&C Fresh, which donates refreshments for the singers for every show, Marshall said.

For 10 shows a year, with each act ranging from three to ten people, that’s significant. Some people want a fruit tray, some want Red Bull. Others was alcohol.

“It’s all based on their likes and dislikes,” Marshall said.

And before every concert, singers get a dinner donated by Dasher’s Corner Pub in Homer.

It’s that continued generosity which allows the center to keep bringing in national acts, Marshall said.

“Without McNeil and Co., P&C Fresh and Dasher’s pub, our concerts would cost a heck of a lot more.”

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