■ By Susan Carrier / Contributed
There was a buzz of excitement last Saturday night at the Historic Hemet Theatre as the capacity crowd waited for Smooth Sounds of Santana to take the stage with their amazing tribute to Santana.
Some in the crowd noticed that the Building Fund banner was missing from its usual spot on the stage. For years, supporters have watched the fund total creep higher, toward the day the foundation would be able to purchase the valley landmark.
Then, the announcement was made. The foundation and the building’s owners have completed their negotiations and the sale is in escrow.
Thunderous applause arose from the crowd, surprised by the news they had hoped for so long to hear.
The $414,000 purchase agreement includes an 8-year mortgage provided by the owners. Crucial to the final terms was a large down payment, made possible through a major donation provided by Gary and Paulette Anderson. The Andersons are among Hemet’s dedicated snowbirds, visiting each winter from Saskatchewan.
The announcement on Saturday also included the creation of a major donor program to raise funds for renovations over the next four years, leading up to the 100th birthday of the old movie house—one of the oldest in the country.
Members of the “Century Club” will provided funding for decor renovations as well as updated lighting/sound systems and improved handicap access. In addition, improvements to the stage area will allow a wider range of productions to be hosted.
The “Century Club” donors will be recognized in a special permanent plaque in the theatre lobby. Anyone interested in contributing to the fund is asked to call the theatre office.
The next concert event is a tribute to Bob Seger on Saturday, March 10. Showtime for Tribute Mania events is 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $22 presale, $25 day of show. Other upcoming tributes in the concert series are Fleetwood Mac (March 24), Bruce Springsteen (April 14) and Tom Petty (April 28).
HHT also features classic films for just $5 every Monday and Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. Coming up on Monday, March 5 is “East of Borneo” (1931) starring Rose Hobart, Charles Bickford, and Georges Renavent and on Tuesday, March 6, “Fog Island” (1945) starring George Zucco, Lionel Atwill, and Jerome Cowan.
Event tickets are available online at www.PurplePass.com or at the theatre ticket office. Tickets are also available at Downtown Deli, 113 N. Harvard St. and the Harvard Street Music Exchange, 134 S. Harvard St.
For more information call 951-658-5950. To enroll for weekly emails, visit the theatre website at www.HistoricHemetTheatre.com. Ticket office hours are Monday thru Friday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.