When walking the halls of the Performing
Arts Center, you may hear footsteps and conversation of music students. Step
inside any office, practice room or classroom, and you could hear a pin drop;
and that’s the way the students like it. Each of these rooms are soundproofed.
It’s just one of many carefully thought-out features of the new music
facilities built for the School of Performing Arts. One that junior music
education student Mary Ellen Kennedy appreciates. [MaryEllen] “It was really distracting if
someone was out in the hallway singing for no reason and we were all sitting in
class trying to hear intervals and octaves, but in this building we don’t
have that problem.” There are about 20 practice rooms for students.
State-of-the-art technology allows students to simulate what it’s like to
perform in different spaces like cathedrals or arenas. Pianos are placed in every room to
ensure that students can play or tune their instruments when they need to.
[MaryEllen] “So now just having the freedom and ability to practice whatever I want to
it’s just it’s made me a better musician already.” Music students also have their
own performance space now, Founders Recital Hall. The space reflects South
Dakota with green seats for the prairie. The ceiling is made with Black Hills
timber and the acoustic panels are colored rose quartz. A 4,000 pipe organ
was purchased for the facility and was brought to campus from Colorado. Founders
also has a balcony with seating and stained glass. Michael Walsh, professor of
clarinet at SDSU says it already feels like home. [Michael] “There’s no honeymoon, it’s
already very much home and I can tell they’re very comfortable to play in
there.” School of Performing Arts students divided their time among three
facilities before the expansion was built. Traveling between Pugsley, Lincoln
Music Hall and the PAC became time-consuming. Now students only have to
come to one building to complete their music courses. [MaryEllen] “You don’t have to plan so
much. Like and it’s nice to have everyone under one roof, everyone’s in one building
and you get to see people a lot more.” Music students and faculty aren’t the
only ones who get the opportunity to use the new spaces. Boston Brass dedicated
the space in February. The School of Performing Arts is set to bring in
outside performances such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Postmodern Jukebox.
Walsh says that the expansion is essential to the program and that is
given students a little more drive. [Walsh] “We’re playing great music, we have great people.
We’ve always had great people, great faculty, great staff, great students, and
the importance is we needed a place to play. If we’re going to place such great
music and have these great people it’s important to have a great facility and
that’s going to definitely show in our recruiting and students coming in.