June 14, 2022

Sound On

Two seniors share their thoughts on how a new purpose-built music center will elevate the student experience

From Debussy to Dr. Dre, pianos to podcasts, the Academy’s future music building will reflect the burgeoning interests of today’s PA students—and the dynamics of a contemporary education.

With naming opportunities still available, the 30,000-square-foot facility will include a 250-seat performance hall, ensemble space, classrooms and practice rooms, an electronic studio, technology labs, and an extensive music library. All are designed to enhance and encourage the diverse musical aspirations—whether in orchestra, chorus, rock bands, or sound mixing—of Andover’s talented students and faculty.

Max ’22, Stamford, Conn.

Drummer, hip-hop/popping dancer, music producer, founder of PA’s Music Production Club

How do you see music expanding at Andover?

There are so many skills and talents and ways students are exploring music here. Besides the symphony and chamber orchestras and chorus, you have beat boxers, rock bands, a cappella groups, and kids who want to sample. We had more than 100 students express interest in the Music Production Club! Music is changing at a very fast pace and faculty are great at encouraging students to pursue their interests, whatever they may be.

How can the future music building further this evolution?

When it comes to traditional music versus the “new era,” you don’t really want to confine students to the conventional. There needs to be room for more diverse music applications— kids are using technology for things like scoring a film for English class, for podcasting, for video sections of The Phillipian. Right now, students are encountering difficulties in the existing space in Graves Hall and beyond. Our Music Production Club, for example, runs out of the basement of Morse Hall. I recently recorded an English class podcast on my phone under my bed using blankets for sound absorption. A new building will help address current deficiencies in equipment, wire management, microphones, and software.

Do you hope to continue studying music after graduation?

I think music will be a lifelong passion, a creative realm that encapsulates me in a flexible mindset full of inspiration, unexpected discoveries, and unbounded chances to try new things. It’s a form of expression for me to showcase my musicality, embrace rhythm, and immerse myself in a free-fall mental space. Additionally, music is a safe space—a therapeutic way for me to express my emotions and highlight the artistry within my identity.

Kate ’22, Austin, Texas

Chorus, Fidelio Society, voice and harp chamber duo, director of the DOWNBEAT a cappella group

What excites you about the music building?

I think that the facility, with its inviting ensemble practice rooms and performance space, will naturally lend itself to generating a community, a music family. Surrounding myself with people who create music, joy, and love has been one of the best parts of being at Andover. I can remember my Fidelio audition in Room 203 in Graves Hall and more music lessons than I can count, music theory classes with fantastic teachers, and peers eager to learn. Can you imagine all that in a building that offers more room, more possibilities? I’m so excited for students to have a more conducive space than I did in which to grow their talents, to socialize, and find happiness together.

How has the music department made an impact on your time at Andover?

The music faculty is amazing! I stopped playing piano for a very long time because I had a bad experience with a past teacher. Sitting down at the piano became stressful and overwhelming. I was eager to try again, but was fearful of the negative feelings that would creep in. Dr. Siegfried [chair of the music department] convinced me to take lessons with Rebecca Plummer, our chorus accompanist and a faculty member I trusted deeply. Not only did she take away the stress of playing, but she also taught me how to love the process just as much as the product. Because of Ms. Plummer, I improved as a pianist and learned to push through life when it gets scary, and I am so grateful for that lesson.

Why should someone consider donating to the music center?

A gift can truly go a very long way! I’ve seen so many become involved in music here—athletes, Blue Key Heads, actors, artists. The entire student body enjoys and learns from the music program. Support for music can change our lives more than donors realize. We are so incredibly appreciative of this.

To begin a conversation, contact Nicole Cherubini, director of development, at [email protected].

Originally printed in The Vista: Views from the Knowledge & Goodness Campaign, spring 2022.

Categories: Campaign News

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