Historic Courtroom Open Tonight For Guitar Concert Classical Guitar Concert To Be Tonight In Historic Courtroom

By: Betsy Reason

Photo courtesy of Sally Wolf
Classical guitarist Nolan Winters, who will perform a concert tonight, performs (above) during a “sound check” for Legacy Keepers Music’s Classical Guitar Series in the Historic Courtroom in the Hamilton County Courthouse in downtown Noblesville.

Imagine sitting in the Historic Courtroom of the Hamilton County Courthouse in downtown Noblesville, listening to classical guitar.

Legacy Keepers Music’s Classical Guitar Series, which kicked off in April, continues tonight with a concert in the Historic Courtroom featuring Nolan Winters.

The series is organized by Legacy Keepers’ director Janet Gilray of Noblesville, who offers a colorful, tongue-in-cheek, description of the Historic Courtroom performances.

The production during the first concerts included “a smattering of light-hearted banter” by “Judge Janet Gilray, regarding the musical testimony to be heard before the evening audience assigned to ‘jury duty,’” she said.

The community already knows Gilray and Legacy Keepers Music, which brings us the annual free summer outdoor String-Time on the Square series.

The four-concert series convened in the historic courtroom on April 1 as part of the Bicentennial Celebration. The opening followed in May with Brett Terrell and Friends. Nolan Winter’s “hearing” is slated for tonight with John Alvarado on Dec. 2.

Gilray became interested in playing music inside the Historic Courtroom after hearing its history.

“When I heard from our (Hamilton) County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt that documents left by our town founders indicated that when (William) Conner donated property for the Town Square, he wanted citizens to enjoy the Courthouse grounds for social purposes,” Gilray had said. “Our Legacy Keepers advisory board felt by adding beautiful indoor classical guitar music to our long-established outdoor folk offerings, it would be a wonderful way to commemorate our bicentennial year.”

Tickets are $20 per show. Sponsors include Noblesville Township Trustees Office, Mark Heirbrandt, Jean Roberts, Ginger’s Cafe, Renaissance Music Studios, Deco Indy Signs and Apparel and Hedgehog Roadshow.

Here’s the skinny on tonight’s performer:

Winters, an Indianapolis native, studied under Nemanja Ostojic at the University of Indianapolis, where he obtained his Bachelor of Music degree in Guitar Performance with a concentration in Composition. Since 2018, he has performed and taught in domestic and foreign settings, including the Guitar Art Festival in Belgrade, Serbia, and the Borguitar Festival in Borgo Val di Taro, Italy. He has been a guest artist at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Vincennes University, and with Pablo Sainz Villegas at Hilbert Circle Theatre. He currently teaches music at Saint Michael and Saint Rose of Lima Catholic schools.

Alvarado, who will perform on Dec. 2, earned his Bachelor of Music from DePaul University and his Master of Music at Arizona State University. He studied Flamenco at the Taller Flamenco School in Seville, Spain. He has performed at an array of venues, including Indiana History Center, Indianapolis Art Center, Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis Artsgarden, IUPUI and Butler University. He is a founding member and current president of Indianapolis Society of Classical Guitar. In 2008, he received the Innovative Artist award from Indiana University and in 2013 received the Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship by the Arts Council of Indianapolis. He is senior lecturer of guitar for the IUPUI Department of Music and Arts Technology.

Winters performed a “Sound Check” in the spring in the Historic Courtroom in the Courthouse, which was constructed 1877-1879. This Second Empire-style structure was built by A.G. Campfield company and designed by architect Edwin May, who was influenced by French Renaissance architecture. The courthouse was restored to its original appearance 1992-94. A clock tower holds the original clock that is still functional. Gilray gleaned this historical information from “Primitive History of Hamilton County” published in 1901, plaques inside the Courthouse and “Historic Noblesville” by Noblesville Main Street, Hamilton County Tourism and Noblesville Preservation Alliance.

According to Hamilton County Historian David Heighway, the Historic Courtroom had been divided up in the mid-20th century, including a floor dividing it into two stories. During the Courthouse restoration in 1992, they used photographs from the D.C. Stephenson trial. “You could say that it reflects the 1920s era.”  

-Betsy Reason writes about people, places and things in Hamilton County. Contact The Times Editor Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.