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Mauch Chunk Opera House gets help from Harrisburg

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 08 2014 09:10:54 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 08 2014 10:03:47 PM CDT

You could say music is the soul of the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, Carbon County.

JIM THORPE, Pa. -

You could say music is the soul of the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, Carbon County.

"Acoustics are wonderful, not a bad seat in the house," production manager Vincent Degiosio said.

But lately it's the seats outside the venue that are causing some to sing out of tune.

"In your living quarters the sound was so loud, the music was so amplified you could sing it word for word," neighbor Marjorie Reppert said.

Since October, the state's Liquor Control Board has cited the Opera House five times for noise violations, costing owners thousands of dollars in fines and putting their liquor license in jeopardy, which Vincent Degiosio says could silence the music permanently.

"It would choke off a very badly needed revenue stream. It's financially impossible to survive without that extra income," he explained.

Now Republican State Rep. Doyle Heffley is hoping to add his own song to this historic building's playlist.

He's introducing legislation that would exempt businesses in historic districts from the Liquor Code's noise restrictions and place the law instead with local municipalities.

"I think borough council and Jim Thorpe are better suited to come up with noise ordinance that works with residents that live close to establishment and business as well," the state representative from Leighton said.

It's been said when the Opera House was built the sound was meant to rival Carnegie Hall in New York City with high ceilings, open spaces, pristine acoustics.

The tricky part is to suppress the sound but not lose the quality.

The theater has already installed interior dampening near stage walls and sound diffusers near amplifiers.

More than $10,000 has been spent for triple layered doors, all in an effort to create community harmony.

"We need to work it out because we all live here and we each have to face each other on the street," Degiosio said.