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Morehouse Cuts the Ribbon on State-of-the-Art Building Named for Ray Charles

ATLANTA, September 28, 2010- It has been nearly a decade in the making, but on Wednesday, September 29, 2010, music will have a new home at Morehouse. The Ray Charles Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building are located on the corner of Joseph E. Lowery Blvd and West End Avenue and boasts 76, 000 square feet. It includes the 650-seat Emma and Joe Adams Concert Hall; a motorized orchestra pit; 12 faculty studios; nine practice rooms; two rehearsal rooms and three academic labs, including the David Geffen Keyboard Digital Music Lab. A special ribbon cutting will take place at 2 p.m. on September 29th with the dedication of the auditorium and a preview performance to follow.

“It’s thrilling,” said President Robert M. Franklin. “The Ray Charles Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building symbolize a sense of unleashing creativity, genius and energy within the Morehouse community – energy that will radiate outward into the larger community.”

The Ray Charles Performing Arts Center is named after the 12-time Grammy-award winner who was known in the music industry at the “Genius.” Charles’ relationship with Morehouse began nine years ago when he was invited to Atlanta to perform with the College’s jazz ensemble. He received an honorary degree from Morehouse and became a long-time friend and supporter of the College. His support came in the form of an initial $2-million commitment to help Morehouse find, educate and inspire the next generation of music pioneers. Since then, the College has received an additional $3 million from the Ray Charles Foundation.

Uzee Brown, chair of the Morehouse Music Department said the focus of the building is on training musicians and vocalists, bringing music performance and teaching together under one roof in a state-of-the-art, technologically savvy building.

“We want the facility to be the laboratory and ultimately we will present the finished project to the public in the performance hall,” Brown said.

The Concert Hall, named for Charles’ long-time manager Joe Adams and his wife, Emma, will feature a new Steinway-D Concert Grand piano. The building also will include: an electronic piano lab, which includes 16 electronic pianos; a composition lab with preproduction workstations designed to teach students the art of arrangement and production; a listening acquisition lab; and a state-of-the-art digital/analog recording studio. There also is space for about 200 people to sit on blankets immediately in front of the stage on The Eugene Mitchell Performance Lawn area on the backside of the building.

As the nation’s largest, private liberal arts college for men, Morehouse College was recently recognized as the number one liberal arts college in the nation by Washington Monthly; one of 45 best buy schools for 2011 by the Fiske Guide to Colleges; one of the nation’s most grueling colleges in 2010 by The Huffington Post; the number three HBCU in the nation for 2011 by U.S. News and World Report; and as one of American’s Best Colleges for three consecutive years by Forbes magazine.

Prominent alumni include Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize winner and civil and human rights non-violent leader; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and director of the National Center for Primary Care of Morehouse School of Medicine; Shelton “Spike” Lee, filmmaker and president of 40 Acres & A Mule Productions; Samuel L. Jackson, Academy Award-nominated actor; Maynard H. Jackson, founder of Jackson Securities and the first African American mayor of Atlanta; and Nima A. Warfield, the first African American Rhodes Scholar from an HBCU.

Posted by edurham at September 27, 2010 07:02 PM

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