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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

The Grand Stafford turns two under newest identity

Photo by Jonathan Sheen  The Grand Stafford Theater can trace its origins back to 1913, when it was the Dixie Theater.

After a hundred years of history and changing names, one of Byran’s most eclectic venues for concerts is celebrating another anniversary under its newest name.
The Grand Stafford Theater celebrates two years since reopening in an event that lasts through Sunday.
Jose Arredondo, an event coordinator for the theater, helped organize this week-long event.
“Throughout the week, we will be serving handmade drinks and hold several jazz performances to give our venue that well-done environment,” Arredondo said.
The Grand Stafford’s origins trace back to 1913, when the building was called the Dixie Theater.
“Originally it was used as a single-screen cinema,” Arredondo said. “From there, the Dixie has been used for multiple purposes: an event center, music venue, regular bar and supposedly used for church-related purposes at one time.”
Through the years since its inception, the theater has undergone significant remodeling.
“The vast majority of remodeling and renovations took place in the mid 1980s when the theater was burned,” Arredondo said.
Arredondo said since the most recent remodeling effort, the theater was able to reopen as a full music venue.
The goal behind these remodeling efforts was to give the theater a more modern appearance while preserving some of its past.
“What we want to do is try and preserve the memories of past patrons who have gone to performances while creating new ones for today’s music crowd,” Arredondo said. “If you look inside at the floor and walls, you can see some of the holes that are still there from when the venue was first built.”
Before finally being named the Grand Stafford Theater in 2012, the theater was called the Stafford Opera House.
“When we named it Grand Stafford Theater, we intentionally included the word ‘theater.’ We wanted it to be known as an entertainment venue, not a bar,” Arredondo said. “We also added ‘Grand’ because we wanted to preserve the history this venue brought to the city.”
Arredondo said the Stafford has some “big shoes to fill,” noting performances of past artists like Leon Russell, Ray Benson, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robert Earl Keene and countless other greats.
“One of our goals is to eventually bring some of these artists back to perform at the Grand Stafford Theater,” Arredondo said.
Regardless of the performance, Arredondo said one thing that separates the Grand Stafford from other venues is the overall concert experience for both patron and performer.
“We strive to make sure that everyone who comes to this venue has the most unique concert experience,” Arredondo said. “Furthermore, we want people to feel like they’re a part of the show, not just feel like paying customers.”
Erin Hoelscher, telecommunication media studies junior, said her favorite part about going to the venue as a student is that it functions as a community for music lovers.
“It’s convenient and right around the corner,” Hoelscher said. “You don’t have to go far to find a great show. Furthermore, it feels close knit, like you really are a part of it.”

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