Video Vault: Building Blossom Music Center in 1968

Our musical crown jewel rising in Summit County

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio - What do the Cleveland Orchestra, Barry Manilow, Carol Channing and William Shatner have in common? If you said Blossom Music Center, then give yourself a star!

Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls seems as if it has been in northeast Ohio forever, but as you’ll see in footage from our Video Vault, construction was racing to completion in 1968. The music venue’s first concert, the Cleveland Orchestra led by conductor George Szell, was just weeks away.

According to the Cleveland Orchestra’s website, Blossom Music Center planning began in 1966 and groundbreaking occurred July, 1967 with a price tag of $8 million. It’s named to honor the Blossom family. Dudley S. Blossom, who served as president of the Musical Arts Association from 1936-38, and his son, Dudley Jr., served as a trustee from 1946-61.

Blossom Music Center, the orchestra's summer home, is an amazing jewel in the crown that is northeast Ohio. Sitting on the lawn, under the stars, with music filling the air is an experience not to be missed.

So let’s head out to see Blossom being built.

Clip one in our video player has no audio and starts with construction of the pavilion building. It’s June, 1968,  and there are no seats to be seen and the roof has yet to be completed. We're about a month from opening and a lot of the building's skeleton is showing. Forty-one seconds in, what appears to be a support for the pedestrian bridge arrives.

Fast forward a month and the building is ready for the opening performance – nice work construction folks.

Hey, that’s Carol Channing and she backstage for a gathering which includes our Fred Griffith.

We finish up our clip with a roof being installed in 1976 (gee, that first one didn’t last long) and with preparations for the opening of the 1977 season.

Clip two begins with a panoramic view from Chopper 5 of Blossom, the year is 1983.

Turn the clock back for the orchestra opening the 1975 season with a fireworks spectacular.

Parking problems at Blossom? Our Jay Bacchus says it’s true and shows us the parking lot for the Barry Manilow show in 1976.

We get to hear Barry sing a bit of “Ready to Take a Chance Again” from the movie “Foul Play.” The song was nominated for an Academy Award. This 1980 appearance has one more song but I can’t identify it… help me out in the comment section below.

I’ll close this edition of the Video Vault with a strange segment. Why is William Shatner at Blossom? There is audio on this clip but only of the audience. The Star Trek star appears to be speaking and not singing  but he packed the place nonetheless.


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