Fundraising efforts are now underway at Sonoma State University, following an announcement by Joan and Sandy Weill, board members and contributors to the Green Music Center (GMC), of a one-to-two matching gift of $1 million toward the completion of Schroeder Hall.
The Weills have pledged to invest $1 million toward the completion of the 250-seat recital hall - a cornerstone of the GMC's academic function - upon the University's procurement of $2 million by additional donors. A deadline of September 1, 2013 has been established, as has a requirement of $100,000 increments in order to qualify toward the matching challenge.
The goal of $3 million by September 1 will fully fund the completion of the venue and allow for an opening during the 2014-15 academic year.
"Completing Schroeder Hall will truly bring the GMC full-circle, and will be an enormous addition to the university community," said Sonoma State University President Ruben Armiñana. "We are very excited about this renewed campaign, and look forward to making the dream of this recital hall at last become reality."
Schroeder Hall, named by philanthropist and community leader Jean Schulz in recognition of her late husband's piano-playing Peanuts character, is an intimate recital hall designed and scaled for education. It is ideally situated for smaller-sized recitals and ensembles including vocal, choral, contemporary classical, and jazz, as well as community performances and lectures.
The nearly-completed building has stood on the southwest portion of the GMC complex since 2008, but an additional $3 million is needed to complete the interior of the acoustically superb venue, which will strongly support the SSU Music Department and will provide instructional space for more than 600 students.
Though a floor has been recently installed, the venue still requires interior construction and furnishing before it can become operable.
"An investment in Schroeder Hall has a direct result on education at Sonoma State University," said Sandy Weill, Chairman of the GMC Board of Advisors. "And finishing this great classroom and outstanding music laboratory will bring us all one step closer to the completion of the GMC."
Designed by BAR Architects of San Francisco, the 3,420 square foot Schroeder Hall is notable for its curved architecture, soaring ceilings, and dedicated organ balcony where a 1,248-pipe Brombaugh Opus 9 organ will be installed on the stage-end wall.
The rare organ - gifted to the GMC by BJ and Bebe Cassin, Donald and Maureen Green,
Robert Worth and Margaret McCarthy, and Charles and Dorothy Aver - is temporarily housed at Saint Michael's Cathedral in Rochester, NY, where students and faculty of the prestigious organ department at the nearby Eastman School of Music have kept the instrument in use. Built of red oak with accents of rare woods, the organ's metal pipes range in size from 16 feet long to some smaller than a pencil.
"Few venues afford such flexibility while maintaining an intimate feel," said Emmanuel Morlet, newly appointed Artistic and Managing Director of the GMC. "Schroeder Hall is a space in which we look forward to presenting new artists and new works, and a great diversity of repertories to the students of Sonoma State. Beyond performance, the building will wonderfully accommodate master classes, conferences, and intellectual exchanges that engage all academic disciplines."
The space will also be utilized as an expanded classroom for the 9000-student university, becoming one of the largest academic spaces on the 269-acre campus.
The SSU Music Department produces more than seventy annual performances, many of which are expected to take place in Schroeder Hall.
And, the venue will provide a convenient option for student life and co-curricular programming on the campus, serving as an additional space for the hundreds of meetings, presentations, and workshops organized annually by student groups.
Nestled in the picturesque foothills of Northern California's esteemed wine country, the GMC is a focal point for arts in the region, with its spectacular 1400-seat Weill Hall. A program of SSU, the GMC's inaugural season launched in fall 2012 with an international array of top classical, jazz, and world music presentations.
Earlier this year, a first-of-its-kind collaboration was announced between SSU and The Academy, a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education.
ABOVE, Faculty and staff meet with Thaine Stearns, Dean of School of Arts and Humanities, and philanthropist Joan Weill, inside Schroeder Hall. The back wall of the hall was illuminated with an image of the Brombaugh Opus 9 Organ that will soon find its home there.