This is a note to all who live within the Kooskia area, to explain to you what is happening with the Kooskia Opera House. Our Opera House Committee has been working hard to inform our community of the possibility of losing this building as a historic theatre and community center. We haven’t been able to reach everyone yet, although we have had articles in the papers weekly and put out posters and flyers. We are under pressure to purchase this building soon because there is another organization that would also like to buy the building for a different purpose. We feel that you have a right to know what we are about to lose if we don’t have your help.
Because the theatre has had little use the past 17 years, many of you have never experienced its beauty and significance. Even those who live in Kooskia drive past it every day and it’s no different from the boarded up building across the street. But those who attended the Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, and Oklahoma years ago claimed that they excelled shows they had seen on Broadway.
We ran some of them 10 nights to allow everyone to attend. Patrons from Grangeville to Lewiston, Pullman, and further drove miles and enthusiastically brought out-of-state visitors. We believe we have enough talent in the areas to bring the theatre back to its former glory. Our desire is to not only revitalize the theater for musicals, melodramas, concerts, dinner theatres etc., and continue using the downstairs event center for celebrating special events such as weddings, reunions, dinners, arts and craft shows, etc., but to extend its use as a community cultural center.
We will offer classes in dance, such as ballet and ballroom; exercise, Zumba, qigong, yoga, etc., also cooking and household skills, family relations, anything anyone wants to teach or learn. We will have an art gallery, and consignment room for locally-produced commodities. It will also be a place for people to meet and socialize; senior citizen potlucks and dances, drama and music camps for teens, date nights like mystery theatres, singles activity nights, learning activities for kids and preschool.
What we have done: We have put money down on the building and have a signed contract. We decided to follow the example of the city of Craigmont, who wanted to replace their bowling alley after it burned down. They sold shares at $500 apiece, so the community actually owns the building. It has taken us two months to get paperwork done, incorporate, inspection, etc.
Now we are trying to get the word out before our allotted time runs out, and in one month we have already received over $30,000. The purchase price is $199,000 and we need to raise the rest soon but money is hard to come by in our area. If only 199 people each gave us $1,000 dollars, it would buy the whole building. Now $1,000 is play money to some people, but to others, $10 is a lot. It was suggested that we place containers around town for small donations, like $5 and under.
Larger donations can be made and shares purchased for $500 at Freedom Northwest Credit Union in Kooskia (926-4768) or Kamiah (935-0277) or call Gloria at (208) 983-0314 for subscription share forms. We have also created a GoFundMe account for donations only. Please go check us out by going to Gofundme.com/Kooskia opera house, like us there, refer friends to both this site and our facebook site, which can be brought up by typing Kooskia Opera House on facebook. (There are 3-4 different sites for the Opera House, but the most current is the only one with a picture of the inside of the Opera house at the top). The more likes and shares received the better chance of more donations from far and wide!
In case we are not able to raise enough money to purchase the building, all money will be refunded if you put your name and phone number in an envelope with your donation. Any unclaimed money will be re-donated for a community purpose.
We appreciate those that have already shown interest in the community by purchasing a share in the Opera House. We feel that renovating the building will increase business with locals and tourists; energize and breathe new life into the community; preserve a beautiful historical building; give our kids needed cultural advantages and motivate them in a positive direction by giving them purpose and enlightenment. And we could all use a little more music and magic in our lives.