Among the most noticeable features of the Campus Crossroads Project’s design to enhance and harmonize the University of Notre Dame’s academic, athletic and student life programs will be the South Building, a six-level structure connected to the south side of Notre Dame Stadium, on which work will begin in November 2015.
According to Peter H. Smith, professor and chair of music, he and his colleagues are delighted by the prospect of their new home.
“There’s a feeling almost that this is too good to be true,” Smith said. “Music has been located primarily in Crowley Hall, which is a beautiful old building in the center of campus, but it is not a building designed for the special needs of music … no soundproofing, no special acoustical properties, no climate control, which is essential for the care and upkeep of instruments. This new facility will have all of those features, putting us in a state-of-the-art facility designed in every way for our needs. Its excellence also will enhance our recruitment of top-flight faculty and highly talented students.”
The new music building will include recital and rehearsal halls, a large and growing music library, classrooms, rehearsal and tutoring rooms, lounge space and administrative offices, and its location will place Notre Dame musicians in advantageous proximity to such splendid campus venues as the Reyes Organ and Choral Hall and other arts facilities in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
For Margot Fassler, Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy and director of the sacred music program, its location is every bit as crucial and welcome a feature of the new music building as its superb teaching, practice and performance spaces.
“When I first heard that our building would be attached to the stadium, my initial reaction was, ‘How exciting!’” she said. “Sacred music is central to the mission of Notre Dame, and for us to be attached to the stadium, to be a visible part of Notre Dame’s ethos, to take our love of sports and our commitments to academics and to student social life and to merge them … What could be better?”
The rapidly growing program that Fassler directs, having recently launched both a doctoral program and a children’s choir, now trains musicians from childhood to advanced graduate study in the knowledge and performance of sacred music. Ecumenical in nature, but with a Roman Catholic core, it will provide the academy with teachers, scholars and performers, and the churches with pastoral and lay leaders.
According to Fassler, “Our program nurtures the congregations of the future, and the audiences for music of many kinds. The students that we train are truly agents of social change.”
“I see the new building transforming music at Notre Dame,” Fassler continued. “I see us able to do things we’ve never been able to do before. I see us using this building to welcome the community into a new world of music and of spirituality, welcoming it to be changed through our music making, through our spirituality, through our intellectual pursuit and through our participation. It calls us to something truly new.”