NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Those anxious to get a peek inside the newly renovated Whitin Mansion on Hill Street will have that chance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16
Tony Sarno and his band will entertain at the first concert/dance party to be held in the historic building, once the home of the Chester Whitin Lasell family.
Over the years, while owned by the Worcester Catholic Diocese, the property was known as the House of Affirmation, where troubled priests were treated, and Oakhurst Retreat.
The property was the center of controversy last summer when church put it up for sale.
A local business first proposed purchasing the property and using the first floor for social events and the second floor for office space. That plan fell though and a gay couple from Sutton placed a down-payment on the land with the intention of turning the mansion into a center for weddings and other social events.
The church backed out of that agreement, allegedly because the couple is gay. Alain Beret and James Fairbanks have sued the church for discrimination.
James Knott Sr., owner of Riverdale Mills, has since purchased and renovated the property.
Sarno and the band will play songs from his albums in addition to classic rock, blues and soul music from the Beatles, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Curtis Mayfield and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Seating is limited seating, but there will be plenty of room to dance.
Tickets are $10 at the door or at at www.tonysarno.com/store.
Participants are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the local food pantries.