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Classical movements tuning up for expansion in Old Town

After nearly two years of hosting outdoor classical music concerts in Old Town, Classical Movements wants to expand their operation.

City Council, which approved Classical Movements’ request to operate last year, will review the application to expand hours and increase seating for the venue at The Rectory at 711 Princess Street at its meeting on Saturday, Feb. 12. Classical Movements wants to increase outdoor seating from 50 to 181, and expand hours from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

“(S)taff finds 10 p.m. to potentially interfere with the well-being of residents in the immediate area,” city staff said in a report to Council.

The historic venue, built in 1785, is currently allowed to have four hours of outdoor entertainment, and is allowed to operate on Friday and Saturday between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m., and Sundays to Thursday between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. The Rectory is also touted as a venue for all sorts of events, from business meetings to weddings.

“Although the applicant… continues to engage in tour sales and proposals for 2022, it does not anticipate a return to a full concert tour scheduled until 2023,” city staff reported.

There were three noise complaints issued against Classical Movements — in April, May and August 2021. One of the complaints was against amplified sound and the others were for operating past 8 p.m. during the week.

The Planning Commission approved the proposal 5-1 earlier this month, although city staff recommend that seating be limited to 100 patrons to limit noise. Staff also recommend continuing the business’s hours. Additionally, if approved, a parking exception would be necessary as there are only 10 parking spaces at the property.

Classical Movements representatives initially asked the city to approve their plan for outdoor concerts shortly after the pandemic landed in Alexandria in 2020, but did not hear back on their request. The company  decided to start putting on shows anyway at the property’s secret garden with small live concerts featuring musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra.

 

Image via Classical Movements

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