There’s a ton of activity inside Brenneman Music Hall as students prepare for finals (and faculty prepare to grade them). Adding to the buzz, crews are in the midst of renovating Ohl Concert Hall and constructing a new whimsical patio.
Ohl Concert Hall: An upgrade and a facelift
When students return from winter break, they’ll be greeted by significant upgrades to Ohl Concert Hall. According to Rod Morrison, associate vice president for Facilities & Engineering, the concert hall is getting an upgrade not only to its condition and décor but to the acoustical volume of the space.
The ceiling is being replaced with insulation added and modifications to the HVAC systems are taking place now, Rod said. Additionally, new lighting is being installed, along with some aesthetic improvements.
“Visually, it will be a much more attractive space to be in,” Rod said. “And it should be a more pleasant sound experience.”
As the School of Music & Theatre has grown, there was a need to make some of the performance and teaching spaces both beautiful and safer, said Dr. Carol Dusdieker, director of the SMT.
“With the new lighting and curtains, that’s going to allow us to do so much more in that space with different scenes and different atmospheres,” she said. The transformed space will be a more flexible teaching and rehearsal space and will provide a more comfortable guest experience.
“It will be a warmer, more inviting atmosphere while maintaining the simple beauty of Ohl Concert Hall,” Carol said.
The project is being entirely funded by the Ohl Endowment.
Pancoast Patio: Nod to a special legacy
It’s no secret that music and theatre majors spend hours and hours in Brenneman Music Hall. But the hall may have been lacking a bit of aesthetic beauty. Until now.
Currently under construction, the Pancoast Patio, a piano-shaped outdoor space off the front of Brenneman has improved the look, feel and possibilities of the music hall. The project, several years in the making, has been spearheaded by alumnus and Berg Bravo! President Ed Ayers, ’71. The Friends of Heidelberg Music organization also raised the entirety of the funds for the construction of the patio.
As a long-time supporter of the arts at his alma mater, Ed wanted Brenneman to match the rest of the campus. “Other areas of the campus have benches or patios, and I felt it was time to upgrade our end of the campus to make it more inviting to prospective students and our current students,” Ed said.
The patio is a tribute to the legacy of late alumni Reginald and Enid Pancoast, who provided a generous gift to renovate the appropriately named Pancoast Recital Hall inside Brenneman.
“This was a perfect opportunity for Berg Bravo! to develop a plan for further improvement, Ed said
The new patio will provide students a place to rest and relax between classes. Music faculty also envision it as a performance for small groups, in good weather, of course.
“I love the idea of creating a front porch for Brenneman,” Carol said. “The patio creates an opportunity for the magic and music happening in Pancoast Recital Hall to spill out(side),”
The patio’s low walls brick pavers will form the shape of a grand piano. There will be illuminating lighting and a fun feature: a set of decorative piano keys at the exit of Brenneman to the patio.
Much of the construction work was completed late in the fall semester. Landscaping will be completed in the spring.