Donor's gift unites Everett Symphony and Historic Everett Theatre
by Beckye Randall
The Everett Symphony is the new owner of the Historic Everett Theatre, thanks to a gift from long-time supporter Idamae Schack and her son Jim Schack.
The Schack family has held the mortgage for the historic building since 1994, forgiving monthly payments by the Everett Theatre Society while the grassroots organization reinvested operating capital into the maintenance of the facility and its productions. The Schacks have also made significant financial contributions to the Everett Theatre Society over the years, covering most of the theatre’s million-dollar renovation several years ago.
“This historic building, located in the heart of downtown Everett, has been a cornerstone of our community arts experience since vaudeville days. The facility will continue in that tradition with the cooperation of the Symphony and the Everett Theater Society,” said Jody Matthews, executive director of the Everett Symphony.
“The gift was made to the Symphony with the idea that both organizations will work together to support performing arts in Everett and the surrounding communities,” stated Mrs. Schack. “It has always been our dream to see community arts thrive and we wish to support community arts programs by insuring that there will always be a place in downtown Everett for these organizations to perform.”
Rob Pattermann, president of the Board of Directors of the Everett Symphony said, “Both the Symphony and the Everett Theatre Society are dedicated to fulfilling the Schacks’ dream of an arts partnership and each hopes to bring their own special talents and abilities to the venture.”
The gift has brought the two non-profit organizations together in a unique arrangement. The boards of both organizations are currently meeting to discuss ways in which the Symphony and the theatre group will coordinate the use of the building.
The historic building was saved from certain destruction by the Everett Theatre Society in 1993, but maintenance of the aging facility is an ongoing financial burden. The Everett Symphony has used the venue for chamber group concerts, but the stage, built to house vaudeville acts at the turn of the 20th century, is not large enough to accommodate the entire orchestra.
As Pattermann stated, “Both organizations would like to see the theatre occupied every day of the year with rehearsals and performances.”
The groups are hoping that other community performing arts organizations will benefit by using the theatre for their events as well.
“This gift from the Schack family has presented the arts community with a wonderful opportunity to further enhance the quality of life in Everett and all of Snohomish County,” said Dan Gunderson, Everett Theatre Society board president. “We look forward to working together to fulfill Mrs. Schack’s dream.”
Neither organization expects any changes in their current performance seasons. Management of the facility, currently in the hands of the Everett Theatre Society, is still to be determined.
“Improvements to the stage to accommodate the Symphony would probably cost a half-million dollars,” estimated Gunderson. Combined with other building needs, including tuck-pointing the aging brick walls and upgrading the heating system, the costs could run to $1 million or more.
The Everett Symphony purchased a downtown storefront location about two years ago, at 2710 Colby Ave., which serves as its offices and rehearsal space.