Monday, October 6, 2008

Places Have Dominant Narratives

“Aren’t you afraid you’ll get, ya know, shot or something?”

One of my neighbors asked me that after learning that I drive (forgive me Ed Begley Jr.!) 26 miles every day to the central business district. In my particular case, that’s downtown Cincinnati.

Cincinnati has had a rough couple of years. Just as the city began to reclaim the close-in community of Over-the-Rhine, a – ahem – misunderstanding between some neighborhood residents and the local constabulary kicked off a series of shootings that pretty much solidified my neighbor’s perception of the inner city.

“No,” I said. “Wanna know why? ‘Cause I’m not gonna rip off my dealer.”

More on the Dominant Narrative of random crime later.

People who love OTR are trying hard to take it back. They’re taking a big step in that direction with the return of the Saengerfest to Memorial Hall this Sunday. This tradition, brought over from the old country by the German immigrants who built Over-the-Rhine (and, obviously, named it) brings an entire community together to sing traditional and patriotic songs. And, of course, eat reallyreally well.

If you’re near the Queen City this Sunday, hope to see you there. It’s sponsored by the Memorial Hall Foundation in honor of the Centennial of Memorial Hall. (see picture) The hall was commissioned by the Grand Army of the Republic to celebrate the sacrifices of veterans from the American Civil War and the Spanish-American (-Cuban-Filipino) War. This is from their release – and no, I am not being paid for this announcement, though I wish I'd thought of it.

Through the World Wars and Korean Conflict, it remained an important part of home-front activities and veterans gatherings. Since a significant refurbishment in the late 1980s, the hall has been used for music and theater performances as well as for large-scale meetings and rallies.

Activities begin at 11:00 a.m. and include:
• Musical presentations in the Washington Park Gazebo
• Civil War Re-enactors in Washington Park
• Informational presentations in the Memorial Hall Theater and lobby
• Saengerfest and Rededication presented by Queen City Concert Band at 4:00 p.m.
• 1940s-era USO Dance presented by Green Hills American Legion Band 5:30-7:30 p.m.

All activities are free and open to the public except a $10 “cover charge” for the USO-style dance. Souvenir programs also will be available for $5.
Memorial Hall is Hamilton County’s monument to the service and sacrifice of its war veterans. The hall, at 1225 Elm Street just south of Music Hall, is a building of national significance for its architecture and its cultural heritage. Designed by Samuel Hannaford & Sons, the military statues below the pediment were created by Clement Barnhorn. The spectacular mural in the auditorium was executed by Francis Pedretti.

Learn more about Memorial Hall at

Save This Page

No comments: