Indiana University of Pennsylvania will officially cut the ribbon to open the IUP Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Sept. 18.
The PAC, a $12 million project, includes extensive renovations of Fisher Auditorium and Waller Hall and joins these two buildings with a 20,000-square-foot addition and grand atrium lobby.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony, which includes a trumpet fanfare composed by Dr. David Ferguson and performed by the IUP Trumpet Ensemble, will be followed immediately by a concert in Fisher Auditorium featuring IUP faculty and students. After the concert, self-guided tours of the buildings, including refreshment stations, will be offered. Music before the ribbon-cutting ceremony will be provided by the HoodleBug Brass, an IUP faculty quintet.
The ribbon cutting and concert are free and open to the community.
During the concert, Dr. Judi Radell, a member of IUP’s Gorell Trio performance group, will present the inaugural performance on the Reschini Concert Steinway piano during “De Profundis,” a composition by Dr. Stanley Chepaitis.
IUP is one of only seven institutions in Pennsylvania that are All-Steinway Schools, using Steinway pianos exclusively for teaching and performance. Roger Reschini, of Indiana, donated funds for purchase of the Steinway concert piano housed in Fisher Auditorium.
Student, faculty and alumni artwork and pieces from the IUP University Museum permanent collection will be displayed throughout the buildings for the opening. The PAC also features benches specially designed by the IUP Center for Turning and Furniture Design, made from the oak tree adjacent to Fisher Auditorium removed because of to disease before construction.
Since opening in 1939, Fisher Auditorium has served as IUP’s primary performing arts facility. It offers 1,400 seats.
Originally built in the 1920s as a gymnasium, Waller Hall was renovated in 1989 for the department of theater and dance. In addition to faculty offices, it includes a black box theater.
The PAC renovation and construction project began in 2006. It is estimated that the PAC will host nearly a quarter of a million people and more than 300 events annually. Initial events planned at the PAC include the OnStage presentation of Gordon Lightfoot on Sept. 23 and the third annual IUP Homecoming Ball on Oct. 5.
The two-story atrium grand lobby offers a 1,400-square-foot multipurpose room for receptions, classes, rehearsals and meetings; new dressing rooms; gallery and commissioned artwork space; and a new ticket office and concessions areas.
Enhanced lighting and refurbished reception areas are part of both the Fisher and Waller renovation. All of the seats in Fisher Auditorium have been replaced, and a new state-of-the-art sound system with sunken control area has been added. Fisher offers new and expanded dressing rooms and renovated administrative and production offices.
The building has underground heating for the steps and patios for safety during inclement weather, and full wheelchair accessibility is available for all entrances of the building.
In addition to The Gorell Trio, the evening’s concert features the IUP Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Jack Stamp; the IUP Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Kevin Eisensmith; a percussion and dance number, “Caravan,” by Duke Ellington, co-directed by Dr. Michael Kingan, percussion faculty, and Holly Boda-Sutton, dance faculty; and ends with three selections by the IUP Marching Band, directed by Dr. David Martynuik.
The IUP Wind Ensemble will present Stamp’s arrangement of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Moving Forward,” composed by IUP student Derek Cooper, of Felton, a senior music major, for this occasion.
“The composition first demonstrates the noise and chaos of the construction but then praises and rejoices in the completion of the IUP Performing Arts Center,” Cooper said. “I also wanted to convey how much the campus has changed since the last time the doors to Fisher were opened to the public. For example, the recapitulation into the theme near the end of the piece is introduced by a brief quote from the school's new theme song, ‘Crimson Xpress.’”
The jazz ensemble will present “Back Home Again (in Fisher Auditorium),” a variation on the classic “Back Home Again in Indiana”; “From This Moment On”; and “Get in Line.”
The marching band will play “Eleanor Rigby,” “Crimson Xpress” and “Amazing Grace.”
Themed reception sites and performances offered throughout the building following the concert include “Take Me Back to Manhattan” on the grand balcony with the IUP Faculty Woodwind Quintet; “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” in Waller Hall lobby; “South Pacific” on the lower level of Waller Hall; “All That Jazz” with The Loading Dock Jazz Trio student performing group on the loading dock of the building; “Swan Lake” in the mezzanine lobby; and “Little Shop of Horrors” in one of the new dressing rooms.
The evening also will include demonstrations in other dressing rooms by students doing stage makeup, the IUP Dance Theater rehearsing in the new rehearsal studio and rehearsals for “Violet Sharp” in Waller. is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.
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