Morehouse Cuts the Ribbon on the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building
By ADD SEYMOUR JR.
(Sept. 29, 2010) -- Joe Adams, business manager and confidant to music legend Ray Charles for nearly 50 years, walked through the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building and smiled.
“This is absolutely impressive,” he said as he stood near a likeness of his old friend. “It’s great.”
On a day that music department Chairman Uzee Brown ’72 called a great day, an audience of approximately 300 watched as Morehouse cut the ribbon on the state-of-the-art facility that becomes the College’s center for music teaching and performance.
“This facility is not simply just another building at Morehouse,” said President Robert M. Franklin ’75. “This is also a symbol of the Morehouse renaissance.”
Anchoring the College’s south side, the $20-million facility covers 76,000 square-feet, houses a digital/analog recording studio, 12 faculty studios, nine practice rooms, two rehearsal rooms and three academic labs.
One of those labs is the David Geffen Keyboard Digital Music Laboratory, featuring 16 digital keyboards and other computerized music equipment.
A wall of the Morehouse College “House of Funk” Marching Band’s rehearsal room can be raised up and outward to cover what becomes a stage for the Eugene M. Mitchell Performance Lawn.
The building also becomes home for the world renowned Morehouse College Glee Club, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, said Weldon Jackson ’72, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs and a former Glee Club member.
“This facility is the reflection of the vision of two presidents, Dr. Walter E. Massey ’58 and Dr. Robert M. Franklin ’75, and is truly a versatile, attractive and unique structure dedicated to the performing arts,” he said. “The Ray Charles Center Performing Arts Center will provide an exceptional venue for the performing arts it is destined to become a beacon throughout the Southeast and the nation for performance.”
After a performance by the 100-year-old Morehouse College Glee Club, Franklin and Massey—who spearheaded the project during his tenure—cut the ribbon. The audience then moved inside to the 550-seat Emma and Joe Adams Concert Hall where music department faculty and students presented dedicatory performances of jazz, symphonic and spiritual music.
Massey said the facility also further connects the College to the surrounding community.
“The fact that this center is to be seen as open to the community I think is the reason that Joe and Emma supported it and convinced Ray to support it because they have always supported our community outreach programs at Morehouse College,” he said.
For photos and video from the ribbon-cutting ceremony and more information about the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building, go to http://www.morehouse.edu/raypac/.
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