Relighting Corvallis’ Whiteside Theater—Big Developments, Amazing Acoustics, Bright Future

The Whiteside Theatre will celebrate its 90th birthday this November, and it’s definitely got a reason to rejoice—vacant for a decade, empty without heat, water, or electricity, the historical theater is clearly on the road to a full recovery. Performances once again grace the stage of the Whiteside’s grand hall, where the acoustics, engineered before the existence of modern sound systems, project each musical note and lifted voice perfectly into the balcony and the front row alike—it’s a sight and sound to behold. With its historical atmosphere, unique sound quality, 1927 Wurlitzer pipe organ, and 800 seats—400 upstairs and 400 downstairs—the Whiteside is sure to become a major fixture in Corvallis’ music and performing arts community. And it’s all thanks to the dedication and care of local volunteers.

Extensive fund raising efforts already secured the restoration of the sewer system and bathrooms, which were repaired to working order in June, 2011. The next major task will be a complete overhaul of the building’s electrical systems—from outlets to wiring and ancient fuse boxes, everything must be brought up to date. The Whiteside also hopes to have its classic neon marquee glowing brightly once electrical restoration is complete.

To raise funds for this next stage of renovations, the Whiteside has launched its “Relight the Whiteside” campaign. Proceeds from all Whiteside-produced events will go toward the much-needed electrical renovations, including preparation of the stage for permanent lighting and sound equipment, and of course relighting the beloved marquee.

If you’d like to become involved in the restoration of this historic Corvallis theater—and it’s going to be an exciting ride—you have quite a few opportunities. Start by becoming a member of the Whiteside Theatre Foundation, donations from which will drive the foundation for the long-haul. And volunteer in any number of ways—enhance the Whiteside’s committees, which do the bulk of the work for donor relations, fundraising, building, gifts, education, and more. The Whiteside is also always looking for volunteers to sell tickets at the box office, pour drinks at events, and work on the electrical, lighting, and sound systems. Do you have a passion for historical spaces? The Whiteside could use your help.

The Whiteside Presents: The 3rd Annual Frightside Jam

The Whiteside Theater’s annual Halloween-themed benefit concert, The Frightside Jam, on October 20th at 7:00 p.m., is going to rock. Literally. A line-up of five local favorite bands, with some big names from Portland, includes Blue Ember, Ambush Party, and Psychro, all of which are donating their time to benefit the “Relight the Whiteside” campaign.

“It’s just really telling for me that that’s how much these people love to play in this space, that they’re willing to make the effort to come down and give of themselves to this space and to this theater,” said Jaime Williams, a board member at the Whiteside.

Ambush Party in particular has been incredibly supportive of the historical theater’s restoration campaign—they’ve performed at all three benefit concerts, and they opened for Floater in May.

And it’s not just the music and crazy Halloween costumes that you can look forward to at The Frightside Jam. Block 15 has been exceptionally supportive of “Relight the Whiteside,” and is brewing up a Frightside Black IPA special for the event, and Creperie Du Lys will be serving up their delectable home-made crepes. So after the OSU-Utah game, don your costume and come celebrate the renovation of our grand old theatre, and OSU’s butt-kicking season, at the Whiteside’s 3rd Annual Frightside Jam!

What’s Happening at the Whiteside?

Oct. 20th at 7 p.m. – Come hang out with the Corvallis Advocate at the Whiteside’s 3rd Annual Frightside Jam!

Oct. 26th at 7:30 p.m. – An Evening with Gary Sneider

Oct. 27th at 6 p.m. – Ghosts of the Whiteside Theatre Tour

Nov. 2nd at 6:30 p.m. – The Magic Barrel Presents: A Reading to Fight Hunger

Nov. 5th at 12 p.m. – First Monday Whiteside Theatre Tour


By Genevieve Weber