Stately and modest, Fidelity Hall is a two-story clubhouse tucked two blocks east of City Hall. Built in 1923, it was the headquarters of the Fidelity Society, a group of German music lovers.
The brick building at 203 E. Fremont St. is the latest historic downtown building to gain a new life. In a telling shift, it has been purchased by the head of a Mexican dance troupe.
Maria Valdovinos is bringing her Ballet Folklorico Raices (Roots) Mexicanas.
“I want to bring a positive place not only for children but adults as well,” said Valdovinos, 31. “Adults need it, too.”
The building’s second floor contains a proscenium stage and auditorium. There, the Fidelity folk used to have concerts and programs.
The Haggin Museum has one of the society’s 1927 programs, an evening of music “In memory of the Centennial Anniversary of the Death of the Greatest Music Master Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827.”
Musicians such as Gertrude Altenhoff played Beethoven piano pieces. Otto van Detten orated Beethoven’s biography. There is a kitchen downstairs, so perhaps there were German hors d’oeuvres as well. Bavaria Blue Cheese Mousse, anyone? Strudel with mustard sauce?
The building came replete with piano, perhaps the very 88s tickled by Frau Altenhoff.
“I own a piano now,” Valdovinos beamed.
She joined a traditional dance troupe when she was 11 years old. By 19 she decided to make it a career.
“It’s like another way to express yourself,” she said. “I think what I like about it the most is the impact it has on the students. They become like a family.”
Valdovinos said she plans to line the proscenium room with dance-studio wall mirrors and hold classes there. The wood floor is good for traditional dance, she said.
“Because it’s wood. Better sound for the footwork. A lot of stomping, twisting your feet and hitting the floor in a synchronized way with the rest of the group.”
Contact columnist Michael Fitzgerald at (209) 546-8270 or email@example.com. Follow him at recordnet.com/fitzgeraldblog and on Twitter @Stocktonopolis.