Metro-East News

Rockin’ fundraiser to benefit Miner’s Theatre

Collinsville’s Miner’s Theatre in September 2009.
Collinsville’s Miner’s Theatre in September 2009. News-Democrat file photo

After raising more than $4,000 last year for Miner’s Institute Foundation, the “Rockin’ for the Miner’s” benefit concert is back Saturday with a new theme, “Sound the Alarm,” because all proceeds will help fund a new fire alarm system for 96-year-old Miner’s Theatre.

From 6:30 to 11 p.m. at American Legion Post 365, 1022 Vandalia St., four bands will perform, including Madison County-based Quarter Draw Band, which has played in Miner’s Theatre before it was closed for renovations and repairs.

Miner’s Institute Foundation has been raising funds for improvements that are needed to make the theatre, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, accessible for people with disabilities and compliant with current building codes before it can reopen.

Collinsville resident Marty Richter, vocalist and guitarist for the Quarter Draw Band, said he helped put the benefit concert together with the foundation. He has “a history of doing fundraisers with bands,” but this fundraiser in particular is meaningful because it benefits “probably the most iconic historic landmark in Collinsville,” he said.

“It’s almost like you can feel the ghosts in there,” Richter said. “You just walk in there and you think about all the performers that have shared their talents with people since the early 1900s.”

Leah Joyce, president of Miner’s Institute Foundation, said she loves hearing stories like Richter’s about why residents care about the theatre, located at 204 W. Main St.

“So many people have met their wife there or had their first date, taking them to the movies,” she said.

She’s also heard quite a few “first-kiss stories,” Joyce said.

For her, the drive to get involved with Miner’s Theatre is related to her position as uptown coordinator with the Collinsville Economic Development Department. Reopening the theatre, she said, would be a huge driver for economic development on Main Street.

An architect has given the foundation a historic structures report, Joyce said, so it has a list of everything that needs to be done and the associated construction costs.

“It’s looking more and more promising every day,” Joyce said. “At first, I gotta tell you, it was a bit daunting.”

Joyce said the funds from the concert will “go directly to the building.” Tickets, which can be purchased at the door, in advance online or through the Collinsville Chamber of Commerce at 221 W. Main St., are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 years old and younger.

“I think it will appeal to a wide range of people and a wide range of ages,” Richter said of the event. “I think there’s a good variety of music.”

Quarter Draw Band plays rock ‘n’ roll, blues and country. Other bands taking part in the event are the country music performers of Doc Holiday, rock ’n’ roll and country cover band Sweet n Sour, and five-piece, mostly acoustic band The Jammin’ Ringtonz.

In addition to the performances, patrons are invited to take part in a silent auction and purchase 50/50 tickets for prize drawings. There will be a cash bar and food available.

The event is sponsored by Scott Credit Union.

The Crazy Bowl event that took place April 4 at Camelot Bowl in Collinsville also generated funds — a total of $2,805 — to be used toward the alarm system. Joyce said the architect estimates the alarm will cost $105,000 unless the foundation is able to get donated labor, making it “significantly less.”

It’s been “a great year” for fundraising so far, she said.

“We just see different groups stepping up all the time, practically on a weekly basis,” she said.

“If anybody wants to get involved, we have so many different levels to do so,” she added. “They can make a cash donation, which will be used for purchasing construction materials. We have a board of directors. We are continuously taking applications for new board members. ... We’ll take anybody at any level of commitment.”

Joyce said there’s also a “volunteer force” for events such as Italian Fest, where the foundation has a booth, and there are cleaning and work days in which people can get involved inside the theatre.

“Every person who goes in the building and sees it and gets excited about it and goes and tells 10 people about it helps what we’re doing,” she said.

Want to go?

What: “Rockin’ for the Miner’s — Sound the Alarm” benefit concert

When: 6:30 -11 p.m. Saturday

Where: American Legion Post 365, 1022 Vandalia St. in Collinsville

How much: Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under