The Strand Theater's Bright Future

As many Schroon Lakers and area residents discovered this past weekend, The Strand Theater will not be showing first run feature films this summer.

This is the first time in 16 years since Larry and Liz McNamara have owned The Strand that movies will not be shown. Larry recently removed the 35mm projectors from the screening booth in the theater, while awaiting funds for a digital upgrade.

And the fund raising effort to buy digital equipment continues in FULL FORCE -- with just $20,000 more dollars needed to reach the goal, according to Save The Strand Fundraiser Emily Rossi-Snook.

In the meantime, Larry and Liz plan to feature nationally and internationally acclaimed acts on a newly built stage in their 1920s art deco theater.

“While we are disappointed we didn’t raise enough funds for the digital equipment for this summer, we are excited about introducing world class musical acts to audiences at The Strand,” Larry told Schroon Laker. “This has been something I have wanted to do since we purchased the place.”

World-renowned guitarist Bill Zito played to a house of around 60 last Saturday night. It marked a sort of homecoming for Zito, who last played at The Strand in 1996.

Funds for building of the stage came directly out of Larry’s pocket and the sound system used is owned by Liz and Larry.

So how are fund raising efforts?  “I tell you, the people of from around here, the locals, have out done themselves with their support. I am grateful to everyone who chipped in. For a small, little town, folks really helped out.”

Beside local contributions, money raised so far has come from the save The Strand Committee and donations directly to the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA)  -- an organization acting on behalf of 10 unique theaters in the Adirondacks.

Then there is grant money from The Adirondack Film Society, who partnered with The Strand Theatre in applying for a grant from NYSCA (New York State Council on the Arts) last August. Once the new digital theater is up and running, The Strand will also have the honor of hosting film forums and other events in conjunction with The Adirondack Film Society.

Emily Rossi-Snook, whose family once owned The Strand and is on the Save The Strand fund-raising committee, sent us this update on the big picture fundraising efforts, after meeting with the committee over the Memorial day Weekend. From Emily:

"Committee members Emily Rossi-Snook, Elena Rossi-Snook, Ann Breen Metcalf and Lil Richardson met on Memorial Day for an update on the progress to raise funds for the digital upgrade to the Strand Theatre in Schroon Lake. After a lengthy letter writing campaign that sent appeal letters from Canada and England to industry members in Hollywood to second home owners and locals in the Schroon Lake area, donations continue to come through ANCA, the non-for profit organization that is helping to collect the donations.

The grant that was awarded in conjunction with the Adirondack Film Society (The Strand has a PROGRAMMING relationship with the AFS in the grant) requires a match. We need to raise $70,000. Here's the breakdown:

1. So far we have raised $25,000.

2. There is an "in-kind" recognition that accounts for a value of $20,000.

3. There are outstanding grants totaling $5,000. that we expect to receive.

4. The remaining amount to be raised so far is $20,000.

5. There are donations still coming in from the letter appeal.

I hope this clarifies the situation and answers all questions. I know that there was some misinformation based on confusion over the grant".

Emily says the committee is planning several events this summer, in conjunction with area businesses. She has spoken with Patrick Siler, the new executive director of the Schroon Lake Area  Chamber of Commerce about coordinating those efforts.

And there are plans for a float in the Schroon Lake July 4 Parade. To give online, click here.

There is some good news ahead of the projected July 2015 opening. As with all new technology, prices drop quickly. Larry says that the digital projector has fallen in price by “several thousand dollars” from the time he first started shopping around.

When The Strand was awarded the grant last year, the Regional Economic Development Council said: “The theater is a vital piece of the cultural landscape, and the project supports the North Country REDC’s strategy of keeping jobs, money and people in the North Country. This project will lead to improved job skills and career enhancing opportunities for new and existing employees”.