Marian Anderson Non-profit Suffers Shutdown and Flood

Music was everything to them, until one day, the music and the world just stopped.

“It was really really strange,” said Gareth Haynes. “It was a weird quiet time when nobody knew how long this was going to last or what it was going to look like.”

Haynes is he’s the music director at the Marian Anderson Historical Society. Not only is this a museum to display the works, beautiful performance dresses and amazing accolades of Philly native, Marian Anderson, its also the meeting place for the performing scholar artists who help her legacy of breaking down racial barriers through music and live on.

But the pandemic stopped them from performing.

“We rely very heavily on the general public to take tours and tour groups, those who come to our performances and it was really devastating when we had to close and didn’t garner a lot of support with governmental aid,” said Jillian Pirtele, the CEO of the Marian Anderson Historical Society.

Then there was this.

“I went to the middle door that will take you to the lower level and I was met with rushes of water and as I was trying to climb down the stairs to find out what was going on, I saw this main gash in the pipe with water just coming everywhere,” said Pirtele.

Pirtele says because of the pandemic, the museum being shut down so she only came to check on things every other day, so when she got there the water had already ruined so much.

“Leaving us with total damage, total devastation to our artifacts for the exhibit,” she said.

The non-profit is working to raise $40,000 for repairs.

“The flooring, the electrical system, everything at the same time and it was more than heartbreaking,” said Pirtele.

In the meantime, they are pressing on. Their first live, in-person concert in more than a year happens July 4th.

“Here we are, we’ve come through a year and a bit and things are loosening, things look hopeful,” said Haynes.

Click here to help with the Marian Anderson Historical Society flooding costs.

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