To the editor:
The Paul White Memorial Shell at Mid's Park will soon be blessed with a much-needed renovation.
Originally designed by the late Arthur Wareham of Saranac Lake, the Shell was built in the mid 1970s as a gift to the village in my grandfather's memory. The benefactress, the late Beth Master, music-lover and dear friend of my grandparents, wished not to be named at that time.
But I now want the world to know of her generosity and fondness for Lake Placid. She and her husband Jack enjoyed many summers here, but I don't think she could have possibly realized how much joy she would bring to others with her special gift of a concert shell.
I have often thought, too, of how touched grandpa White would be, for it was his belief and his wish that music be for everyone not just for those who go to the concert halls..
Paul White, solo violinist, was one of the original musicians brought to Rochester in 1923 by George Eastman. He established a career of playing and teaching at the Eastman School of Music, and is remembered today as a noted composer and conductor. In the late 1930s, at the request of The Lake Placid Club, my grandfather formed a little orchestra for the summer season.
Starting with a small group of fellow musicians from Rochester, he named the ensemble the "Sinfonietta." His beloved Sinfonietta considered a treasure now and then - has survived and flourished all these years thanks to so many devoted concert-goers and contributors.
Grandpa referred to Lake Placid as "little Switzerland." Like Beth and Jack Master, he loved the village its people, scenery, fresh air, fishing - and every evening before dinner, he jumped in the lake! For his family and him summers in Lake Placid were a cherished tradition.
And now, for us, the Paul White Memorial Shell is a cherished tradition. En plein air and by Mirror Lake, it is a special stage, a special place for music, for "good vibrations" in general, and, one hopes, for inspiration.
The shell has served us well but we find that its renovation is overdue. The need for a more substantial, functional and versatile venue has prompted a community initiative to rebuild. Lake Placidians Bill Billerman and Jamie Rogers have taken the lead. They have researched all aspects of this project, enlisted the expert volunteer work of architect Andrew Chary and Engineer Ivan Zdrahl, and finally, tackled the fundraising. We are looking at an estimated cost of $250,000, including site preparation, a 25 percent larger stage with ramp, full weather protection, a grass sitting area and a sitting wall near shore.
The proposed shell keeps its lean-to style design which is so fitting. My favorite feature is its roof shaped like a bell of a horn, it projects the sound from within! Bravo!
Please be part of this renovation project by donating to: The Paul White Memorial Shell Campaign, c/o Adirondack Community Trust, P.O. Box 288, Lake Placid, NY 12946.
Our donations are, in essence, invitations to all who live in and visit the Adirondacks. With this effort we bring my grandfather's legacy into the future and Lake Placid, continues to offer something special, indeed.