Florence Bank Donates $100,000 to the Iron Horse Music Hall

 In Client Press Releases

The gift supports a $750,000 capital campaign to fund updates and renovations to the well-loved venue

FLORENCE—Florence Bank recently announced it has donated $100,000 to the Iron Horse Music Hall, supporting a $750,000 capital campaign for renovations and updates to the well-loved music venue in downtown Northampton. 

Chris Freeman, executive director of the Parlor Room Collective in Northampton, which purchased the Iron Horse last fall and has been updating it since, said the bank’s gift will help fund ongoing work to the venue at 20 Center St.

He explained that the collective has already expanded the Iron Horse into a storefront next door that formerly housed a Christian meeting space, and is in the process of moving the bar into that new space along with 10 bathrooms. The bathrooms in the basement of the venue will be updated and reserved for visiting artists only; the remainder of that downstairs space will be remodeled to be “more artist friendly,” and artists alone will be able to access the area, Freeman said. 

Other work being undertaken at the music hall includes the installation of a new sound system, lighting, flooring and an HVAC unit for cleaner, fresher air. 

“Florence Bank is a big community supporter. They were our first corporate ask,” Freeman said, noting the Parlor Room Collective is running the capital campaign for the Iron Horse through the bank. “Florence Bank understands our mission, our vision for what the Iron Horse can become. We’re so grateful they stepped up in such a huge way.”

He added that, when the Parlor Room became a nonprofit, it leaned into Florence Bank for funds to start an open mic series, a program that has since become self-sustainable. “Without that early gift from Florence Bank, we wouldn’t have been able to get it started,” Freeman said.

The Parlor Room is a small listening room in Northampton, founded 11 years ago as a facet of the Signature Sounds record label. Freeman was a musician in a band that recorded on the Signature Sounds label in those days, becoming more involved with the Parlor Room after the pandemic. In 2022, the Parlor Room became a nonprofit and is now known as the Parlor Room Collective. 

Florence Bank President and CEO Matt Garrity said the Iron Horse has been at the core of the local music scene since its founding in 1979, and the bank is proud to support the Parlor Room Collective’s revival of the venue. “We value the collective’s mission-based approach to the return of the Iron Horse,” said Garrity. “The Iron Horse has long been a space in which local patrons and musicians from far and wide can celebrate art, music and community, and we look forward to the return of that energy.”

The Iron Horse is scheduled to reopen May 15 with a performance by Rachael & Vilray, a configuration of friends with sounds that range from an intimate duo to a nine-piece formation, such as on their newest album, “I Love A Love Song.” Taylor Ashton, a Canadian singer songwriter from Brooklyn, will also take the stage in the show from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

“The calendar is filling up for the summer and into the fall,” Freeman said. “We’re so thrilled with the response from artists and the excitement about getting the place open.”

The Iron Horse is collaborating with Dave Schrier of Daily Operation of Easthampton for the hall’s food menu and intends to bring back an updated version of the Wicked Wally, a brownie sundae many people might remember from years past. 

The Iron Horse is still seeking donations and sponsorships. To donate, visit IronHorse.org.

“It’s such a fun cause to fundraise for,” Freeman said. “So many people have memories about being at the Iron Horse. “It’s an amazing spot. We’re incredibly grateful to the bank and the whole community.”

Learn more at ironhorse.org/revive-the-iron-horse.

About Florence Bank

Florence Bank is a mutual savings bank chartered in 1873. Currently, the bank serves the Pioneer Valley through 12 full-service branch locations in Florence, Northampton, Easthampton, Williamsburg, Amherst, Hadley, Belchertown, Granby, Chicopee, West Springfield, and Springfield. Additionally, it offers 25 ATMs and a wide range of financial services, including investment management through FSB Financial Group (FSBFG) to consumers and businesses. Florence Bank is consistently voted best local bank by the readers of the Valley Advocate.

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