"This is amazing," Campbell remembered the engineer telling him.
Campbell resolved to turn the chapel into a part-time music performance space. He has plenty of access: His wife, Rev. Gretchen Bingea, is the pastor at the chapel, and for the last few weeks he has hosted four small concerts at the North End church. Now, he said, he's ready to make his vision of an intimate music hall part of the chapel's outreach ministry into a reality.
"I'm not the Egyptian Theatre or the Knitting Factory. What's nice about it is, artists can work directly with people without distractions like at a bar, with conversations and waitressing and noisemaking," he said. "The comfortability in there is great. I think the best thing would be to come and experience it."
By day, the 110-person-capacity chapel near the corner of Seventh and Fort streets remains a house of worship, but as often as once a week, Campbell said he would like to host Acoustic Alchemy Studio concerts. A studio benefit is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 16, at 6 p.m., which will include performances by singer/songwriter Phil Roy, Tony & Blues Addicts, and Mood Swings. There is a $25 suggested donation, and funds raised will go toward advertising upcoming events and attracting out-of-town musicians.
Additional concerts are planned: On Wednesday, Aug. 22, Frim Fram 4 will play classics from the 1930s-'60s, Daniel Champagne will play on Saturday, Aug. 25, and Morgan James will perform on Friday, Sept. 5.
- Will Campbell
- Augustana Chapel is in the North End.