THOMASTON — The Watts Hall Band Dance Party Oct. 14 was a “rousing success” and one of the best events that Managing Director Kendray Rodriguez has ever had there. The dance floor was full and attendees also enjoyed watching and listening from surrounding tables. People had beverages and hors d’oeuvres while they chatted and took in the music of the Watts Hall Band. The dance party was a fundraiser for Watts Hall Community Arts.

Bill Hahn on keyboard and Tommy Hanna on lead guitar in the Watts Hall Band. Photo by Sherrie Tucker

The Watts Hall Band formed in January 2022 and the dance party was its Watts Hall debut. Attendees heard blues, rock and R&B from a full horn section, keyboards and guitars, which played favorite tunes from Fleetwood Mac to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Black Crowes to Van Morrison, Linda Ronstadt to the Eagles, Talking Heads to Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones to the Allman Brothers and more.

The dance party kicked off a first season of events and musical/theatrical productions at the venue since some Thomaston town government was relocated. Bill Hahn, keyboardist for Watts Hall Band and Thomaston Select Board vice chair, Watts Hall Community Arts Board Chair Ben Griffin, and Watts Hall Board Member Charles Grover recognize the value of the hall being a major draw for visitors and a driver of economic success for the community. Rodriguez said more than 160 people were in attendance at the dance party, according to ticket sales. The new incarnation of the hall and the money earned from ticket sales are great indicators of the success the hall can achieve as a visitor destination.

Watts Hall Community Arts oversees the leadership of the hall. Watts Hall has maintained its historic ambiance, however it is expensive to maintain the building’s character. The Watts Hall Community Arts Board is looking toward the future and the benefit that Watts Hall can bring to the community. Creation of a second floor art gallery and renovations to the balcony are items of consideration for the Board as well.

Watts Hall Community Arts Board Chair Ben Griffin. Courtesy Watts Hall Community Arts

During Griffin’s welcoming remarks, he told guests Watts Hall Community Arts was formed in September 2021 as a nonprofit organization. The Town of Thomaston has tasked the organization with the mission of managing and operating the second floor space of Watts Hall, which includes the auditorium with stage, a green room, the renamed Gallery Room and a kitchen. The organization is charged with scheduling and bringing in as many entertaining and educational events as it can, which started with the Watts Hall Band Dance Party.

Griffin also said the best thing that Watts Hall Community Arts has done is hire Rodriguez as managing director. He described Rodriguez as a “fireplug” who plans to oversee a wealth of events for Watts Hall.

Upcoming events include:

On Saturday, Oct. 22, at 2 p.m., author Irene Drago speaks on and signs her newest book, “Lavinia Wren and the Sailmakers,” a love story set in 1865 that is woven into the fabric of Thomaston and the Elliott/Dunn sailmaking families.

The Mystery 207 group performs a 1920s speakeasy-themed murder mystery dinner theater Saturday, Oct. 29, from 6 to 9 p.m. The three-course meal is catered by the culinary arts students of the Midcoast School of Technology. The $55 tickets must be purchased in advance by noon Oct. 25.

Watts Hall also plans an upcoming comedy night, and on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3, Scott Moreau will be Walkin’ The Line with three members of the Watts Hall Band. Bill Hahn, Art Grinnell and Tommy Hanna will accompany Moreau in his original Johnny Cash tribute concert (scottmoreau.com/johnny-cash).

Watts Hall is located at 174 Main St. Follow the events calendar at wattshallthomaston.com. The Watts Hall Band is also available for private events both at Watts Hall and other locations; contact Alan Hinsey at alan@wattshallband.com. For more information on Watts Hall, contact Rodriguez at 207-542-8449 or wattshallcommunityarts@gmail.com.

The view from the balcony shows a packed dance floor in Watts Hall. Courtesy Watts Hall Community Arts

Ben Griffin, Charles Grover and Bill Hahn enjoy a conversation before the Watts Hall Band Dance Party. Courtesy Watts Hall Community Arts

The Watts Hall Band plays to a full house. Photo by Sherrie Tucker