Torrington musician opens Outlet for the Arts in former Studio 59 space

TORRINGTON – Chaz DiVito, a veteran sound technician in the music industry, has put roots down in Torrington, living in and restoring a former church at 59 Barber St., now known as Outlet for the Arts.

The venue was a performance space called Studio 59, owned by Timothy Wallace, that closed in 2018. Wallace offered a variety of salon-style concerts in an intimate setting, featuring classical music, opera and other genres.

After it closed, Studio 59 stood empty. It was vandalized, DiVito said, and was in poor shape when he decided to take the leap and buy it in 2020. The building, constructed in 1886, is a former Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which left in the 1960s.

“After the church left, it was a residence, it was a law office; A lot of families who lived here were involved in music and art, ”DiVito said. “Lots of people remember this place, for different reasons. Tim Wallace had Studio 59 here, and I know it was hard for him to leave. “

DiVito is living on the upper floor of the old church, working to create a space where musicians and performers can make records, hold shows and work on their craft. He recently hired local painter Warren Walsh to repair and paint the main space in the former sanctuary on the main floor. In the lower level, the walls are also freshly painted and the place is clean, with a small recording studio up and running, and a kitchen in various stages of repair.

His next big challenge is refurbishing the staircase leading to the main space – steep and creaky, it must be replaced. “That’s the big project right now,” DiVito said. “But it’s coming together.”

DiVito participated in Make Music Day in June, and welcomed individual performers to the venue during the afternoon events. He’s looking forward to welcoming more artists to do their work with him, using his equipment and making music.

“I try to keep an open format here,” he said. “I’m a sound engineer and a music producer, and I can help shine bands – I’ve got a piano, keyboards, a tape machine, phonograph.”

A Windsor native, DiVito has worked with artists including Sean “Puffy” Combs and Wyclef Jean, he said. His career took him to New York City, where he got involved in hip-hop music and artists.

“I started on guitar when I was 10, and I joined the band in high school and played percussion,” he said. “I did some jazz, rock guitar.” After high school, he said, he attended the SAE Institute in New York City, an audio engineering trade school.

After graduating, he began to find jobs with artists like Combs. “I helped produce his first CD, ‘Press Play,'” he said. “I worked with all these producers at Daddy’s House, which is what his recording studio was called.”

But he wasn’t getting paid much, if at all, he said, and he wasn’t getting any credit for his work. In spite of that, DiVito said, he met some big names in the industry – LL Cool J, Method Man, and other singers and rap artists.

DiVito returned to Connecticut in 2009, and began to work for Dubway, an independent music company. “I learned a lot there, too,” he said.

He found plenty of work as a sound engineer, working at Mohegan Sun and setting up the equipment for visiting entertainers. It was hard work, but it paid the bills.

In 2020, he moved to Torrington, intrigued by the empty 50 Barber St. space, and a plan forming in his mind to create Outlet for the Arts.

“The pandemic was just starting, and I kept checking the listing for it,” he said. “My aunt is a real estate agent, and we went in to see it; it was so sad The place was emptied by thieves and the door was kicked in. It was never closed up right. “

But he saw the potential inside the vintage structure. Now that the main space is freshly painted and his equipment is in place, he’s encouraged. “I drive for Door Dash to make money, and I still do that,” he said. “I’ll do anything to pay the taxes on this place so I can keep working on it and make it work.”

He still works as a sound engineer, setting up sound systems for conferences and conventions in Boston. “They need qualified technicians for sound, for medical conferences and doctors meetings. That’s the only place I’ve been finding good work lately, ”he said.

At Outlet for the Arts, he’s planning a concert and a comedy show in the coming months, and wants to screen “House of the Devil,” a horror movie that was filmed in Torrington. He has a credit in the movie, he said.

DiVito’s vision for the space is to provide a place where any musician can perform and make their music, he said.

“It’s like coming full circle, to show people what they can do – I’ve had such great mentors, and I want to pass on what I know to younger people. The younger generation needs help, ”he said. “I’ve lost a lot of friends to drugs, to car crashes, to illness – young people need an outlet to express themselves. I have young kids who come here to play. They need a place to be themselves. “

To learn more about the Outlet for the Arts, visit

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