The MSU College of Music has officially made a dream come true by cutting the ribbon on the Billman Music Pavilion – a state-of-the-art facility, specially designed for musical study, practice and performance. On Friday October 1, the college celebrated the expansion and improvement of the college facilities and hosted an open house filled with music.
Crews completed much of the pavilion construction in the spring of 2020, but the pandemic has delayed the celebration. The pavilion opened its doors to students and faculty in fall 2020 as part of COVID-19 security protocols. This fall was the first occasion to celebrate with students, faculty, donors and members of MSU and the surrounding community.
“With the opening of the spectacular Billman Pavilion featuring renovated spaces in the Music Building, students and faculty at the College of Music are entering a new era that dramatically improves learning and collaboration as well as health and wellbeing. -be, “said James Forger, dean of the college. of music. “Advanced recording, video and technical capabilities open up new curricular possibilities and new ways to effectively communicate our tremendous strengths. We are ready to soar. “
Over 600 people attended the dedication ceremony outside the College of Music facilities at 333 W. Circle Drive on the MSU campus. With opening music provided by the Spartan Jazz Quintet and MSU Wind Symphony, the ceremonial portion of the day included remarks from Forger, faculty and student representatives, the administrator Melanie Foster, President Samuel Stanley Jr., MD, and the pavilion’s named benefactor, James K. Billman Jr.
After years of planning, the college had a successful fundraising campaign. Billman, many other major donors and many other members of the community at large, including over 80% of the faculty and staff of the College of Music, understood the need and made generous donations to support the building of the student-oriented facility. The $ 41.5 million project set a target of $ 17.5 million in private funds, with the remainder being provided by the university. The total raised from private donors exceeded $ 17.8 million.
The Billman Music Pavilion consists of a new 37,000 square foot space and 8,500 square feet of renovated space. One of the biggest benefits of the Billman Music Pavilion is the 40% increase in overall facilities. Improved or new spaces include those intended for individual and group practice, chamber music, large ensembles, opera, jazz, networking and student gathering, dissemination and entertainment. recording, scholarly research and presentation, and live performance. In addition, the facility has 45 new practice rooms and multi-functional spaces that include four new rehearsal rooms, two new performance spaces and two large classrooms.
The College of Music began to gradually improve its facilities with renovations to the Cook Recital Hall in 2013 and the Fairchild Theater in the MSU Auditorium in 2014. Each included dramatic updates to acoustics and design. The same design and build teams from these projects partnered with faculty-led committees to create a plan for the Billman Music Pavilion, and renovations began in June 2018.
The upgraded facilities ensure a 21st century learning environment for all music students while celebrating the history of the original 1939 building constructed by the Works Progress Administration. The physical transformation helps the college develop cutting-edge programs, attract and retain talent, and strengthen the college’s position nationally and globally. The college offers leading programs in instrumental and vocal performance, jazz, conducting, music education, composition, music history, music theory, and studies in entrepreneurship and career preparation.
The state-of-the-art installation attaches to the facade of the current Music Building and blends in with the classic exterior styling of MSU’s North Campus. Based on Lansing Christman Company held the post of construction manager. Bora Architects from Portland, Ore., worked with faculty to ensure the design was in line with teaching and performance needs. TMP architecture from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, added their expertise. Acousticians Kirkegaard Partners of Chicago brought advanced artistic and scientific understanding to provide a sound-sensitive construction based on the thickness of the floor, the shape and height of rooms, and the materials and systems between the walls.
The overall result is a calm and sheltered environment for interactive classroom work, practice, rehearsals, recording, and performance that helps students prepare for and build successful careers. Flexible, ‘just the right size’ and artistically and scientifically advanced, the new and renovated spaces are ready to meet the needs of nearly 70 full-time faculty, 600 full-time students working on music degrees, and approximately 2,000 students. additional participating in sets and courses.
“I have said and still believe that while our music students and teachers do great things using what they have, they deserve a better place to rehearse, teach and study,” said Billman, graduate of 1968 from Natural Science and Honors College at MSU. and member of the National Board of Directors of the College of Music. “It is beyond words how happy I am to see this facility open and available to everyone. It is a beautiful space. “