Eastman Community Music School celebrated its recent $2.8 million renovation of Messinger Hall with a grand reopening and dedication of the Karen Rettner Community Music Center.
The event started with an open house and performances by Eastman musicians. The newly renovated ground, third and fourth floors include a keyboard lab, classroom, 24 teaching studios, percussion and drum set studios, and designated waiting spaces for parents.
The dedication ceremony featured remarks by Richard Feldman, president, University of Rochester; Jamal Rossi, dean, Eastman School of Music; Petar Kodzas, associate dean, ECMS; Ron Rettner, trustee, UR; and State Sen. Joe Robach, R-56th District. Also in attendance was Vinnie Esposito, executive director of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.
“The entire ECMS community — students, families, faculty and staff — have followed this project with anticipation for months, and we are delighted to start the new school year in this fantastic facility,” Kodzas said. “It is very symbolic that such a wide community of supporters came together to make this project possible and we look forward to expanding our role in the musical life of Rochester.”
ECMS opened as part of the Eastman School of Music in 1921. Messinger Hall was dedicated in 2005.
“The sentiment inscribed on the facade of the Eastman Theatre, ‘erected for the enrichment of community life,’ is completely woven into the fabric of the Eastman School of Music,” Rossi said. “The Eastman Community Music School has been one of most impactful elements of our service to the community for almost 100 years. For the first time, we now have a facility that provides beautiful teaching and learning spaces that match the excellence of the faculty and students who make music together. We are deeply grateful to the visionaries and donors who purchased this building 15 years ago, and to those who provided the resources to transform this building into something very special.”
Michele Gibson, senior associate dean for administration and finance at Eastman, oversaw the renovation.
“The Eastman Community Music School renovation project’s conceptual design was initiated in early 2015,” Gibson said. “A technical and complex endeavor, we knew the project had to include studio layouts that would be conducive to community school-based instruction, as well as ensuring the highest standard of requirements for acoustics, humidity controls and ergonomics.”