Brothers want to recreate opera house

A pair of Delburne-raised brothers are gauging local support for resurrecting a local opera house lost to fire in the 1990s. The two-storey wood-frame building with a typical Western-style false front was built in 1918 and was a community gathering place from the days of dance halls and vaudeville.

A pair of Delburne-raised brothers are gauging local support for resurrecting a local opera house lost to fire in the 1990s.

The two-storey wood-frame building with a typical Western-style false front was built in 1918 and was a community gathering place from the days of dance halls and vaudeville.

James and Jason Reckseidler see a lot of potential in recreating the opera house with a few modern twists as part of a community rejuvenation effort.

“Ideally we’d like to put the original blueprint up and have it look like it used to,” said James.

Now owner of a Calgary-based film and video company Reckseidler Films, James still has close ties to the community he grew up in and where his father Ray is mayor.

James believes a modern take on the village’s old opera house could once again bring music and dancing back to the main street. The building would also be designed to suit other community events.

James said the opera house idea is still in its early planning stages.

The Reckseidlers posted a sign on the now empty site of the opera house to get some community feedback and see how much fundraising interest there is.

So far, reaction has been pretty positive, he said. Some have questioned how it would fit in with the existing community hall, but Reckseidler believes there is room for both.

His vision goes beyond the opera house.

An old building on a nearby lot has potential to be transformed into a cafe or a craft brewery, to further draw residents from surrounding areas and communities.

He could see buying the building and developing that first and using it to generate interest in the larger opera house project.

The lot the opera house stood on and two adjacent vacant lots are town owned but could be purchased for the project.

The brothers come by their interest in the old music venue naturally. The Reckseidlers are a family of musicians and James and Jason are in band called Reijo.

For a brief overview of the project, go to www.reckseidler.com/operahouse.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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