Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Encouraging excellence

When Yoder Recital Hall was being built in the mid 1990s it was my job to take construction photos. So every week I’d take my trusty camera and hard hat – yes my very own hard hat in order to enter construction zones – and make my way to the west side of campus to take photos of what was new.

One day when it was nearing its completion, I remember walking in and catching my breath. It was so elegant- so simply, beautifully, classically elegant. Stunning.

In the nine years since its opening, Yoder Recital Hall continues to be well used. It is the site for student recitals, faculty performances, chapel services, May Day performances and, several times a year, the venue for professional artists brought to campus through the Artist Series.

Regional, national and internationally-known soloists, ensembles, dance and theatre troupes and others have performed through the Bluffton Artist Series for more than 80 years. The goal is to bring a wide variety of world-class performers to campus each year and to provide something of interest to everyone.

This year’s Artist Series is no different; there’s an award-winning piano soloist, brass ensemble, percussion group, boys choir and the Massenkoff Russian Folk Festival which combines a vocal soloist, an ensemble of Russian folk instruments and Russian folk ballet. Intriguing.

I think it’s appropriate that before the professionals take to the stage, the 2010-11 music schedule begins with a senior recital. After all, it’s all about the students, preparing them for life, encouraging them to stretch their wings, giving them a glimpse of what might be.

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