Allentown Symphony Association is pleased to announce that Allentown Symphony Hall has been renamed Miller Symphony Hall.
Donald and Sam Miller were visionaries. In 1959 when the Lyric Theatre (performing home of the Allentown Symphony as well as burlesque) was about to be demolished, they put together a plan to purchase the hall for the Symphony. They brought a proposal to the board on June 2, 1959 to purchase the Lyric Theatre for $110,000. They had already lined up pledges for $84,000 from 19 founders. Two weeks later, the board procured a mortgage for the rest. This is only one story, among many, of the philanthropy of the Miller’s in the Lehigh Valley which has continuously passed from one generation to the next over the past 53 years.
It is this spirit of “Quiet Philantrophy” which motivated the Allentown Symphony Association Board, some fifty years later to memorialize the contributions of the Miller family which, began with Sam and Don Miller, previous owners of the Morning Call, and has continued to the next generation with Pete and Lois, Joan Miller Moran, and Alice Anne Miller; as well as Sarah Miller, the widow of Donald Miller.
It was here in the archives of Allentown Symphony Hall that the minutes were discovered from the June 2, 1959 and June 16, 1959 from the Allentown Symphony Association board meetings. On June 2, 1959, the Allentown Symphony Board meeting, which was held at the home of Samuel Miller, Donald Miller made the presentation to the board regarding the status of the Lyric Theatre, whereby he says unless the Symphony purchases the building it would be demolished. The Allentown Symphony Association approved the purchase of the Lyric Theatre for $110,000 which with today’s inflation it is estimated to be about $875,000. At the board meeting on June 16, 1959 at the home of Paul Anewalts, loans were secured and approved with the First National Bank of Allentown for the purchase. Two committees were appointed, and a chairman for each was named: Building Committee, Mr. Donald Miller, and Operating Committee, Mr. Walter Strothman. The Lyric Theatre was purchased from I. Hirst Enterprises, Inc. on July 14, 1959. Later, the building was renamed Allentown Symphony Hall.
The Mission of the Allentown Symphony Association is “to provide a first-class symphony orchestra and Hall, quality performing arts, and cultural education in partnership with the community.” In recognition and appreciation for the Miller family, November 10, 2012, the Board of the Allentown Symphony Association is proud to announce the new name of Miller Symphony Hall.