Changes to Memorial Hall Affect Ensemble

Memorial Hall, located on the first floor of Old West, will no longer be utilized as a venue for public events. The college Collegium, which has historically held yearly holiday concerts in the space, is one of the groups impacted by this decision.

William Shoemaker, director of Enterprise Risk Management, stated that the primary reason for the discontinuation of the use of the hall is inaccessibility.

“Memorial Hall’s location on the first floor of Old West may be inaccessible to those with a physical disability,” said Shoemaker. “The college wants to ensure that all persons (including those with disabilities) are able to attend public events.”

According to Shoemaker, when requests are made to hold public events in the space, the Conference and Special Events Office makes an effort to move the event to another venue with greater accessibility.

Other speculated reasons for the discontinuation of the use of the hall include the daily function of the building as the center of the college’s administration and the overall condition of the hall.

“There is some concern about the wear-and-tear on the carpet in Memorial Hall,” said Professor of Music and Collegium Director Blake Wilson. “Also, during our Christmas concerts, the old radiators tend to overheat the room, and one year, one faculty member fainted, which made a real impression on our provost!”

There is no specific alternative as to where the performances normally housed in Memorial Hall will be held in the future, said Shoemaker.
Although this location will no longer be an option for Collegium, there is no shortage of performance spaces for the 24- voice ensemble. Options open to the ensemble continue to include Rubendall Recital Hall in the Weiss Center, Alison Great Hall and various churches in Carlisle.

“Rubendall has just undergone a very expensive renovation, and quite rightly the administration feels we should be doing concerts there,” said Wilson. “My only issue is that Rubendall, while wonderful and much improved acoustically, is not equally great for every kind of instrument and ensemble.”

Students in Collegium, including Tyler Hanson ’16, share in the disappointment of no longer being able to sing in Memorial Hall.

“While I understand the rationale behind the decision to change Memorial Hall’s purpose, it is quite disappointing that performances will no longer be held there,” said Hanson. “Not only is the room great acoustically for music making, but it has been tradition for Collegium to sing there for quite some time. While Rubendall Recital Hall and surrounding churches are great for performances, the Collegium performance in Memorial Hall always felt extra special. The aura of singing at that location will be sorely missed.”

Ann Fogler ’15 said, “Well, I think that’s too bad. It’s a lovely space, with lovely acoustics. I think they should continue making use of the space for the arts.”

“For many years we decorated the hall, and the audience−always a nice mix of faculty, students, parents and townspeople −absolutely loved these concerts,” said Wilson.

Collegium’s final performance in Memorial Hall will be held Dec. 6.