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Adding comfort to old auditorium seats
Mitzi Sequoia of Rumford Performing Arts sits on and displays some of the seat cushions made by volunteer Barbara Jean Smith, to be used on the hard seats on the floor in the Rumford Falls Auditorium when RPA has future events here. Some patrons have complained they will not come to RPA events because the old seats are too uncomfortable. Sequoia is trying to find a way to get the chairs replaced without asking for taxpayer dollars. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
RUMFORD -- Those using those old, hard wooden seats in the Rumford Falls Auditorium know how uncomfortable they can be.
Further, there are people not attending events here by the Rumford Performing Arts because of the seating, according to member Mitzi Sequoia, who is taking on a personal compaign to try to replace those seats.
In the meantime, an effort is underway to make patrons a little more comfortable in this historic venue.
Thanks to the efforts of RPA supporter Barbara Jean Smith, there are now 80 (and counting) handsewn cushions to comfort the buns and backs of people attending RPA events in the auditorium.
Showing the different cushions, Sequoia noted that Smith bought all the materials used and they also have a nice filling. "She uses a tiny sewing machine on her dining room table."
Sequoia said Smith chose not to be recognized for her effort, but is doing this in support of RPA.
In addition to these cushions, she said after talking to RPA organizer Jim Rinaldo, he was able to secure a donation of 50 seat cushions from the Oxford Federal Credit Union.
Sequoia said people using the cushions will have one for their back, one to sit on and in some cases, a cushion for their feet.
She asked if other people would like to make or donate cushions for RPA events, they would appreciate it. It is hoped that the added comfort will help increase their audience, which is averaging around 50 people per performance.
Sequoia has asked to be the agenda on an upcoming Board of Selectmen's meeting to address the chair issue. She is looking to get permission to replacing the chairs without the use of taxpayer dollars. Ideas include sponsoringships using name plates or perhaps donations from businesses.
"I spoke to Carlo (Puiia, town manager) about this a year ago. We'd like to replace all these chairs, but we're (RPA) operating on a shoestring budget," she noted.
The town is addressing the issue of acoustics in the auditorium. Puiia said the hope is to have a new sound system in place by the time RPA has their annual Festival of Trees event in early December.