The Bicknell Family Center for the Arts begins renovation on its final addition, the rehearsal room.
Until the rehearsal room is finished, music department ensembles continue to rehearse in Kelce Auditorium in Kelce Hall.
“That’s where the symphony rehearses on a weekly basis, so we have 3 rehearsals a week over there,” Tyler Kuder, senior in music education, said.
Construction was first done on McCray Hall. Music department faculty discovered the auditorium in Kelce was not regularly used by the college of business. The university renovated the auditorium into a rehearsal room as a place for music ensembles to practice for upcoming performances.
“People wonder why there’s music students here all the time,” Gretchen Reed, a senior in management, marketing, and professional writing, said.
Kelce Auditorium used to be a performance space for school plays. PSU added acoustic tiles along the auditorium walls to block excess noise, but sound still carries.
“It wasn’t designed to be a rehearsal space for a large band. And therefore, the sound travels all throughout our building. And so we get lots of music during class time, throughout the day and that disrupts professors’ classes. Particularly those of the west side of the building, near the auditorium,” Paul Grimes, dean of the college of business, said.
The college of business works closely with the music department to schedule rehearsals so they don’t overlap with multiple classes in Kelce.
The rehearsal room will be the last constructional project for the Bicknell Center. The department of development collected several pledges, and continued fundraising for the Bicknell. They used money that accumulated over time for the project. The plans for the rehearsal room include getting acoustic shell walls and transferring instruments, stands, and chairs from Kelce, and McCray Hall, to the new Bicknell location.
“Right now, if they need to have a piece of percussion equipment…..they currently have to have the physical plant put it on a truck, whether there’s wind or rain.” said Joseph Firman, Director of the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.
Several of the music department’s performances occur at the Bicknell center every semester.
“Unless we had a different venue change, Most of our concerts are at the Bicknell.” said Kuder.
The Bicknell Center has partnerships with other departments on campus, such as the communications department, who utilize the Bicknell Center’s broadcasting room.
“The broadcasting students are now able to come over here. When they do, their live production class can work with my staff to produce very high quality video and audio productions,” Firman said.
The Bicknell is also working with the marketing department to live stream and make video productions, promoting enrollment at PSU.
“I think it would be nice for them to have their own space that makes sense with their program,” said Reed.
“Honestly, as someone who’s been here since right after the Bicknell opened, I didn’t know whether (the rehearsal room) would be done in my lifetime as a gorilla,” said Kuder. “ Seeing as it’s actually going to get done, I’m just really excited.”
The rehearsal room is expected to be open and ready for use sometime this spring semester.