Gold is the traditional gift for a 50th wedding anniversary, and Keith Stoltz not only presented his parents, Jack and Susan Stoltz, with a golden honor, he gave them the gold standard. Wondering what to give a couple who has everything, Keith came up with a novel gift idea: constructing and dedicating a brand new, upscale music room, the Stoltz Listening Room at the Avalon.
“I thought of the Avalon Foundation, because it is very special to my parents,” Keith says. “For many years, they have supported the arts in this community and the Avalon Foundation’s mission. My parents greatly appreciate the Avalon’s impact on the region’s arts, culture, and economic development. What I, along with the Avalon board of directors, envisioned was a venue that would help expand the arts and their vital importance in our community. The Stoltz Listening Room at the Avalon is my way of recognizing my parents while giving back to the community where we live and work.”
As national real estate developers, the Stoltz family has holdings across the country, but is best known locally as the owners of TalbotTown Shopping Center in downtown Easton. In building the Stoltz Listening Room, Keith Stoltz and the Keith D. Stoltz Foundation became part of an incredible team effort that allowed the work to be completed in just five weeks. The general contractor was O’Neill Development, a firm with deep experience in historic renovations and restorations. Owner Brendon O’Neill and Adam Theeke, along with their subcontractors, were major players in supporting the renovation as a community development project. The architect was Alex Crawford of Chatelain Architects in Washington DC.
“The Avalon Foundation acknowledges O’Neill Development for their commitment to this project,” says Al Bond, executive director of the Avalon Foundation. “Their insight into the renovation, design input, and on site operations provided high quality constructionon time and under budget. This was a complex project with a lot of exotic infrastructure. To complete construction in five weeks demonstrates their extraordinary ability.”
The gift was unveiled at a surprise party on September 11. The private gathering was a joyous celebration of family and community. Appropriately, the stage was christened by young members of the Stoltz family. Keith’s sons Jason and Kyle, who perform under the stage name The Reporters, performed a medley of songs, ending with a touching song written especially for their father.
“Those who know me can attest that I am never at a loss for words,” a teary Jack Stoltz said. “But tonight I am just that: blown away and speechless. I am blessed with a wonderful familymy wife, our son, grandchildren, and friends. All I can say right now is, ‘thanks!’”
The Stoltz Listening Room at the Avalon is a 60 seat space that provides a welcoming setting within an elegant décor, overlooking a beautiful nighttime view of downtown Dover Street. Designed to accommodate small acts of one to four performers, the addition of the Stoltz Listening Room enables the Avalon Foundation to expand its repertoire of jazz, country, and emerging artists that are best presented in an intimate, club style atmosphere.
A terraced sitting area and club seating create a cozy, kick off your shoes atmosphere. The pressed tin roof and special order Italian fixtures give off soft, relaxing lighting. The upholstery and window treatments are made from sound enhancing fabric. State of the art, programmable systems for acoustics, sound, and stage lighting allow shows to go on without the need for technical engineers, making the Stoltz Listening Room the best equipped venue on the Eastern Shore.
“The Stoltz Listening Room is a truly exceptional performing arts stage,” says Jessica Rogers, general manager of the Avalon Foundation. “This is a defining venue that’s creating its own style within Easton’s vibrant music scene. It’s all about close connections between performers, their audiences, and the community. We want anyone who enjoys performing arts to feel comfortable here. There’s nothing quite like it in the region.”
“The addition of the Stoltz Listening Room is an exciting and transformative moment for the Avalon Foundation,” says Bond. “This new venue significantly expands our capacity to deliver arts programming to our community. The gift of the Stoltz Listening Room will also be a catalyst as the Avalon Foundation strives toward our goal of renovating the entire Avalon building. On many levels, this venue contributes to our mission of utilizing arts and entertainment as a community outreach vehicle, while attracting more people to discover Easton’s dynamic arts scene. The Stoltz family has made an invaluable and lasting contribution to the Avalon Foundation and to our community.”
For more information, bookings, and calendar of events, contact the Avalon Theatre at 410.822.7299, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.avalontheatre.com.