The Dome Arena: R-H and Other Legends

  • What do R.E.M, KISS, and the R-H Class of 2022 have in common?

    The Rush-Henrietta Class of 2022 held their commencement ceremony at the Dome Arena in Henrietta. They experienced that important milestone while walking the stage in a venue that has hosted some of the greatest performers the world has ever known.

    An incredible array of legendary bands and musicians played live at the Dome Arena in the 1970s. They include Aerosmith, The Eagles, KISS, Journey, Lynyrd Skynrd, Rush, and Van Morrison. In 1977, Foghat recorded a live album - cleverly titled Foghat Live - there. That record went on to achieve double-platinum status. It featured well-known tunes such as “Fool for the City” and “Slow Ride.” Other notable acts - such as Billy Ocean, Green Day, The J. Geils Band, and INXS - also have performed there.

    Adjacent to the Dome is Minnett Hall. It was there in 1984 that a fledgling band named R.E.M performed for 1,500 enthusiastic fans on its way to stardom. “I don’t understand it,” Andy Smith wrote afterward in the Democrat and Chronicle. “I’ve listened to the records, and now I’ve seen the concert, and I still can’t figure out all the fuss over R.E.M.” Seven years later, the band’s album, Out of Time, received seven nominations at the 34th annual Grammy Awards. We wonder what Andy Smith thought of that.

    There is a lesson here, kids: Even the brightest stars weren’t appreciated by everyone at first.

    Music not your thing? Sporting events also have a long history at this location. For example, the Rochester Zeniths won two Continental Basketball Association titles while playing at the Dome Arena. This happened during the 1978-79 and 1980-81 seasons. In 1981, the Zeniths beat the Montana Golden Nuggets for the CBA championship. Montana’s coach was unrecognizable at the time but today is widely known as NBA Hall of Famer George Karl.

    The Dome Arena also has welcomed many professional wrestling shows throughout the years. All-time greats such as Gorilla Monsoon, Ernie Ladd, Haystacks Calhoun, Bobo Brazil, AJ Styles, and Luke Harper have graced the squared circle in front of thousands of excited fans.

    Of course, many Rush-Henrietta classes from the past have graduated at the Dome Arena, as well. In the mid-1970s, a class of more than 700 students crossed the stage there. More recently, thousands of R-H musicians participated in annual festivals at the arena, before those programs were moved to the Senior High School when its new gymnasium opened.

    On June 24, 2022, the Rush-Henrietta Class of 2022 shared the spotlight with many legends of the past. We hope students and their families savored this shared experience!

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