Schermerhorn concert hall dodges bullet

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 4:40pm

Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center dodged a catastrophe, as rising floodwater in the facility’s basement just missed the Laura Turner Concert Hall.

According to symphony spokesperson Alan Bostick, water inside the facility is receding after missing the main concert stage and seating area by a mere 8 to 12 inches.

“We really caught a break there,” Bostick said. “We’re very pleased about that.”

The state-of-the-art music facility, which opened in 2006, still has substantial flooding in its basement where the center’s kitchen, grand piano and concert organ are all housed. The flood level is slowly going down.

“We can’t even access the basement by going down the stairwell,” Bostick said. “We’re facing water all the way to the top step. It would take scuba gear to get down there. We just don’t know the extent of the damage. We just know it’s submerged in water. Chances are, they’re terribly damaged.”

The facility’s pipe organ — a $2.5 million Schoenstein — likely suffered extensive damage to its operating mechanism and console, both were in the Schermerhorn’s basement level.

Bostick said the plan is to pump the water out of the basement, but the water level is still too high to establish a timeframe on when that process will begin. Symphony leaders won’t be able to estimate the cost of damages until the water is pumped out and they can begin to survey the area, Bostick said.

Due to the flooding, Bostick said the center could close for four to six weeks. He said symphony leaders are talking to representatives of venues such as the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the Ryman Auditorium about holding events at their facilities while the center is being repaired.

Bostick said the symphony is considering giving patrons the option to refund tickets for events held during the potential four to six weeks the hall is closed.