Music Hall mourns Roger Adams; memorial service is Saturday afternoon | Arts & Culture
CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Arts Association, the Music Hall resident arts organizations, and friends and family of Music Hall are mourning the loss of Roger Adams, Music Hall’s Technical Director since 1994. Adams died at his home on Monday, May 14.
Born on New Year’s Day in 1944, the youngest of five children, Roger Adams was the son of a stone mason, who apprenticed to learn his father’s trade. In January of 1960, he began working with Cincinnati’s stagehand Union (IATSE Local 5), a decision that would lead to a life-long career in the entertainment industry. An active member of Local 5, Adams served as an officer and executive board member, and under his stewardship the Union established its health and welfare fund.
His years as a journeyman included work at most of the city’s concert venues (including the since demolished Albee and Palace Theaters) and the now legendary Cincinnati Opera performances that were held at the Cincinnati Zoo Pavilion, where he fondly recalled the often chaotic mix of classical music and wild animals. He spent several years at Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park as a carpenter, but Music Hall was the place he most enjoyed working, and where he perfected his skills under then Technical Director Roy Hopper. From set and scenery construction to countless creative projects for Music Hall’s resident companies, Adams was a talented carpenter with a reputation for being able to fix any problem, often under time constraints that seemed insurmountable. Behind the scenes, he coordinated load-ins, stage setups, crews and load-outs for virtually every show – from Opera, Symphony, May Festival, and Ballet productions to Bruce Springsteen, Prince, the White Stripes, and Garrison Keillor, to name just a few.
An avid gun collector and hunter, Adams also enjoyed participating in the popular “ghost tours” of Music Hall. Like the late Maestro Erich Kunzel, he firmly believed that Music Hall was haunted, based on his firsthand experiences while working in the theater. He was featured in several programs about Music Hall, and was generous in sharing his recollections about the theater’s history. Adams will be remembered as a dedicated employee, talented craftsman, and loyal friend by the building staff and resident companies he served so well during his tenure as Technical Director, and by countless other people he worked with over the years.
Roger Adams is survived by his wife Diana Vandergriff Adams, son Roger G. Adams, brother Edward Adams, sister Florence Long, and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to: Society for the Preservation of Music Hall, 1241 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202.
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday May 19, 2012 at Music Hall Lobby from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.
The organizations of Music Hall have shared thoughts on Roger Adams:
Cincinnati Arts Association
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of a wonderful and valued member of our staff and family. Roger will forever be a meaningful part of Music Hall's history, and will be remembered for his more than forty years of committed service to this historic venue, nearly twenty years of which as its technical director. A great advocate for Music Hall and a terrific craftsman, Roger’s love for this wonderful facility and commitment to its world class performances are unsurpassed. Our thoughts and prayers of support go out to his family, friends and colleagues. He will be greatly missed.” – Steve Loftin, President and Executive Director, Cincinnati Arts Association
“Roger was part of our Cincinnati Ballet family and his unexpected passing is extremely saddening. He was a staple at Music Hall for over fifty years and in his time there, he worked backstage on many of our productions. Roger is also the late husband of our Wardrobe Mistress, Diana Vandergriff Adams. We are keeping the entire Adams and Vandergriff families in our thoughts. He will be missed throughout our building and the entire Cincinnati arts community.” – Missie Santomo, Managing Director, Cincinnati Ballet
“On Monday, May 21, Roger Adams would have begun his 53rd season of working with Cincinnati Opera. If you paid attention, you could always learn something from him—how to tie a particular knot, or how to safely hang a 2-ton scenic piece, and a lot of really good stuff in between. Over the years, we faced tasks that seemed impossible, given the time and manpower available to make it happen. But Roger never faltered. He complained a little—well, a lot—but he kept at it until he got it working. That was his way.” – Glenn Plott, Director of Production, Cincinnati Opera
Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras
“This is a great loss to the arts community in Cincinnati. Roger touched many lives in his years of behind-the-scenes work at Music Hall. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.” – Joe Hopper, Technical Director and Stage Manager, Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras
IATSE Local 5 – Cincinnati Stagehand Union
“Roger will be remembered with gratitude and affection by all his brothers and sisters in IATSE Local 5, as well as all who worked with him at Music Hall. Roger’s dedication and commitment to Music Hall, the arts community, and Local 5 will not be forgotten.” – Thomas L. Guidugli, Business Representative, Cincinnati Stage Employees.
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