WINCHESTER – When Ron McGehee began renovating the former Virginia National Bank building on the corner of North Loudoun and Piccadilly Streets, he envisioned turning that area of downtown into an “entertainment hub.”
The centerpiece is The Monument, a new venue at 186 N. Loudoun St. in the old bank.
Under the Monument Entertainment umbrella, next door is Ellie’s Pub and Pearl’s Lounge. A sports bar behind the pub is in the works for 2023. A speakeasy is scheduled to open in the basement of the monument later this fall.
Justin Tenpenny, Monument Entertainment’s director of operations, says The Monument’s 4,000-square-foot first floor seats about 420 people.
The space features a performance stage with old bank vaults as a backdrop, DMX lighting, and Tenpenny boasts “the largest disco ball in Frederick County.”
There is also a 7k projector and camera system for broadcasting live footage
“We offer more of a comfortable and elegant experience. We have architecture and cutting-edge lighting that you would find in a larger venue, but on a micro scale,” said Tenpenny. “All the things you love about a city location or a large concert hall you will feel here, but in a more intimate setting.”
Behind the central bank’s grand vault is a green room where entertainers can relax before a show.
Upstairs is a bar and lounge area in the “Old Presidential Suite” which used to be the Bank President’s office. There is also an outdoor area.
McGehee, a retired mechanical engineer, designed, fabricated and customized much of the space, Tenpenny said, noting that there’s a fair bit of steel.
All lighting is DMX controlled and integrated. DMX (Digital Multiplex) is a technology that controls and synchronizes stage lighting or other animations such as smoke machines.
“There will be over 230 different light variations that can match a performance,” Tenpenny said. “If the artist had a song that changes the mood of the room, the mood of the room can change both physically and how you’re feeling.”
So far, The Monument has hosted two small shows since it opened last fall, which Tenpenny described as a “gentle rollout process.” The next show, Robbie Limon as the Buddy Holly Experience, is scheduled for March 19.
More shows will be added to the schedule, Tenpenny said.
“We are working with our partners to book national and regional acts that will begin in April,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re ready to host national acts and build a good reputation and a strong relationship with those people to keep them coming back. That way, people in our community don’t have to travel far to see top-notch acts. We want to ensure that we are agile and learn from our experiences. That’s why we conducted a gentle rollout process. There are many different moving parts, so we want to make sure we exceed expectations when it comes to delivery. We want to knock that first chance to make an impression out of the park.”
Chryssi Elfstrom, events manager at Monument Entertainment, said she is excited about all the possibilities for The Monument.
“There are many different elements and creative aspects that are really exciting for me. We’re building from the ground up,” said Elfstrom, who has event management experience in the restaurant industry. “There are many ways to reach out to the community and really brand ourselves.”
To find out more, visit The Monument’s Facebook page.