Armory Kicks off Benefit Concert Series


On Friday, the Center for Arts at the Armory (191 Highland Ave.) will kick off a new concert series to raise money to re-soundproof the center’s performance hall.

“We know that with the local community—the ultra local community—the sound has been an issue,” says Lea Ruscio, Executive Director of the Center for Arts at the Armory. “This is something we take seriously.”

The Armory began hosting concerts and events in its performance hall back in 2009 and conducted a study in 2010 to determine how sound leaked out of the building and identify potential solutions. The re-soundproofing efforts will attempt to implement the changes recommended in that study.

With a cafe and office space (Scout’s offices are located in the building) many of the Armory’s day-to-day operations are on the quiet side, and even the events in the performance hall—which range from the Winter Farmers Market to tax talks to prenatal yoga—aren’t often ear-splittingly loud. According to Ruscio, that’s a conscious choice on the part of the Armory staff. She just turned down a group that wanted to host a Hindi rock festival at the Armory (“which would have been an awesome, multicultural event,” she says), because she knew the music would be too loud for the space.

Still, even the most cautious booking hasn’t been a foolproof solution; there have still been times when a concert was loud enough to disturb locals, which is why the building needs to be re-soundproofed. And the changes to the auditorium won’t come cheap, either. The exact price tag hasn’t been finalized as the Armory is still accepting bids, but one estimate has put the total cost for renovations near $35,000. That’s where this concert series comes in.

Friday’s show will have a world music flair, featuring the sounds of 35th Parallel, Goli and Esthema. Tickets are $15 ($12 for students and seniors) and can be purchased on Eventbrite. If you can’t make it, fret not—the series will continue through December, and a portion of the proceeds from upcoming Bowery Boston events at the Armory (including next month’s acoustic Tigers Jaw show) will also benefit the efforts to update the space.

And don’t worry, neighbors: Even after the soundproofing solutions are implemented, the Armory won’t be hosting Slayer or Iron Maiden.

“We’re never going to be ultra loud,” Ruscio says, “but this will expand the types of bands we can welcome and improve  the situation for the neighborhood.”