Music school takes space in former Campus 3 cinema

BY CHRIS CLARK | MARCH 26, 2009 7:40 AM

UI officials will renovate the former Campus 3 cinema in the University Capitol Centre for temporary instrumental lessons, office space, and practice areas for the UI School of Music, according to an e-mail sent Wednesday.

The new space will provide an area for students and faculty displaced after last summer’s flooding, particularly everything piano-related, faculty working in 12 of the mobile studio trailers, three string faculty members, and some music offices located in the Lindquist Center.

The UI acquired the former cinema a few years ago through an agreement with the UI Facilities Corp., UI spokesman Steve Parrott said, and officials expect to the music school to stay there for three to four years.

Using the former cinema will provide well-equipped, soundproof space for playing and teaching, school Director Kristin Thelander wrote in the e-mail.

But UI clarinet Professor Maurita Mead said the move will present new challenges to students and professors.

“I want to express how grateful we are for the administration working on this, because we know how hard it is working to find us adequate space,” she said. “On the other hand, it is difficult that we have to move so much.”

And although the new location is closer to the heart of campus, some music faculty are worried it will put a gap between them and their students’ group rehearsals, which will continue to take place in the UI Museum of Art.

“I would prefer to be closer to my students so I can coach them while I’m hearing them in an orchestra,” Mead said.

She usually attends her students’ ensembles every day, she said, and the new location impairs professors’ ability to provide that extra help.

“I have to be honest and say that we are trying our hardest to make sure it does not affect the quality of education we give our students,” Mead said. “We are doing our best to go with the flow.”

UI junior and jazz musician Justin LeDuc said although playing in temporary locations hasn’t presented too much of a challenge, a new location at a central part of campus will be a valuable asset for students.

“If there is time and space for jazz groups to meet, I would definitely use it,” he said. “There are always students walking around over there. It would be very convenient.”

Sophomore flute performance major Alana Jacobs agreed with LeDuc.

“It’s more convenient to have things right on campus,” she said. “A lot of classes are held on Clinton Street, so you just have to walk right up the street.”

Mead, who has been at the UI for 26 years, said flood damage to the Voxman Music Building is the biggest challenge she has faced since being on campus; teaching after the 1993 flood was not so difficult.

“This is a very stressful and a difficult task,” she said. “We are going above and beyond our call of duty. We are all giving 200 percent.”

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