Keith Fund Raising Group Inducts Members, Tours the Jewel

Updated 5 years ago by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
A man with memories for a thousand lifetimes represents one who has stepped forward in an active role to restore the gorgeous Keith Albee Performing Arts Center.

Bill Heaberlin has been connected to music and shows locally and internationally for decades. His Media Promotion Enterprises introduced touring styled "show" bands to the Tri State in the 70s. His firm booked regional festivals and corporate parties throughout the United States allowing him  on the same (back) stage with show toppers and super stars.

However, he has a special portal in his heart , not for the "big names," but for his time spent working at the Keith Albee working for the Marshall Artists Series.  From booking performers to producing shows, H has been at or near the green room.

Producer often has ambiguous meaning. For Heaberlin he humbly describes the function as ensuring that the show and its performers are on the stage when the lights go down.

What's unknown behind the scenes are the requirements of performers and productions. Fitting specific sets on stage or rigging lighting so as to provide particular effects are the technical aspects of producing. There's a relationship perspective too. Bands, performers, artists made specific, often unusual demands. That goes beyond provisions for their room in the city, one group insisted on a particular brand of banana that had a certain ripeness in their contract rider.

The showman behind the scenes can himself entertain you for hours with stories about how the shows came together before the curtain rose and not to forget the removal of the equipment and props after the performance.

Having lives all these memories, Heaberlin formed the Orpheum Society as a means of giving back to the grand ole gal upon whose stage show business royalty has performed since its 1928 opening. The goals will be providing funds for restoration and programming at a Thomas Lamb masterpiece that by all odd does not belong in a city Huntington's size.

The Keith Albee Performing Arts Center has achieved success in updating and preserving the Fourth Avenue landmark. A long way from full restoration on how it appeared at the grand opening, the Keith Albee stands intact and operating. That achievement has failed in city after city, whether Cincinnati which lost both its Albee and Palace, to the destruction of NYC's historic Roxy, and intact debris in Flushing, NY where the "RKO" has fallen into demolition by neglect.

Hoping to see a fully restored Keith Albee in his lifetime, Bill initiated an annual "gala" in 2013. On Sunday, April 6 at 3 pm , MPE and he on behalf of Huntington's grand dame  bestows recognition on 60 individuals (and counting) who have become charter members of the Orpheum Society
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