As members of the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir, we all know a thing or two about change. We know that weather conditions can easily change whether or not we were able to hold a concert or march in the daily parade. We know that styles, including AOSFYC uniforms, have changed over the years. But we also know that no matter the changes we see in our lifetime, we always have our cherished memories, friendships, and love of music making!
Recently, a plan to renovate the Expo Center and Ohio State Fair Grounds was announced. This plan, called Expo 2050, is in the early stages of planning but discusses many building and grounds changes and renovations that will create a beautiful atmosphere for the State Fair.
While the details of these plans have not yet been determined by the governor-appointed execution team, we do know that the Choir and Band are definitely included. In other words, the Choir will continue to sing at the Ohio State Fair for years to come!
At this point, we are not even sure when the first phase of renovations will start. It may be in a year, maybe two. We do know, however, that when that first phase does begin it will include the building of a new dorm for the Choir. Rhodes Center will be torn down and replaced with a new home for the Choir and Band.
When I first heard this news, a wave of nostalgia and sadness washed over me. The thought of my “summer home” for several years of my life no longer existing pulled at my heart strings. So, I will be the first to say, it is completely OK to feel that sadness too. However, I do know that the building is in desperate need of repairs (I saw that with my own eyes on cleaning day last summer). In fact, it needs more repairs than are practical. And I know we all want our current choir members to be in a safe place. A new facility would also include ADA accessibility while the current Rhodes Center really doesn’t.
So yes, the demolition and replacement of Rhodes is bittersweet, but necessary if current and future choir members are to have a safe place to lay their heads during the Fair.
As I mentioned earlier, we are not sure, but the construction could start as early as 2024. Let’s take this summer to visit our old stomping grounds! Join us at Alumni Day this year on July 29, to bid farewell to our old “summer home.”
AOSFYCAA Vice President
all-ohio state fair youth choir