HOMECOMING 2013: Showcase will be a high note in Grant Hall
By Michael Onesi, Alumni Communications Officer
As the School of Music prepares to move into its new home next year – the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts – it will also say goodbye to its former performance venue during this year’s Homecoming.
Showcase is a long standing tradition and one of the premier annual events for the School of Music, featuring the school’s talented students. The event has been held in Grant Hall for the past 40 years, but this year’s concert on October 18 is likely the last in the historic hall before the move to the new venue.
School of Music director Margaret Walker says that students and the many alumni who regularly return for the event may get a little nostalgic during the final Grant Hall Showcase, but everyone at the School is looking forward to performing in the new, state-of-the-art $63 million facility next year.
“Some people may be a little teary eyed this year in Grant Hall. It’s going to be a special concert.”
The Showcase is a required performance for music students and it’s the only time during the year all the ensembles – choral, jazz, wind and symphony – perform on the same night. For first-year students, it is the first performance of their careers at Queen’s.
Alumni have always attended the event. In years past, many made the Friday night Showcase the beginning of their alumni reunion weekend. Even in the years when Homecoming was suspended, the School of Music held a coffee social on Saturday morning because alumni were still returning for Showcase.
Homecoming organizers are making efforts to reach out to the Kingston community and Margaret hopes the public will come out to Grant Hall and hear great music.
“It’s important to have Homecoming come back and Showcase to be an official part of it. It means a lot to our students, alumni and the music program. Hopefully it brings the Queen’s community and the Kingston community in to hear our talented students play,” says Dr. Walker. “It’s one of my favourite concerts because there is so much variety to it. The performers love to perform and share their music.”
The alumni won’t only be in the crowd. Three of the ensemble directors are Queen’s grads: Gordon Craig, Mus’73, Ed’74; Mark Sirett, Mus’75; and Greg Runions, Mus’80, Ed’84.
Margaret describes the opening of Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts as “a dream.” The centre provides much larger rehearsal space. Having its own concert venue means the School will no longer have to move over instruments and music stands to Grant Hall or McLaughlin Hall for concerts.
“We are so thrilled to know that we will have a new space. We have a rehearsal room in the basement of Harrison-LeCaine Hall that we can use, but it can get cramped when you have our symphony orchestra in there,” says Margaret. “The Isabel Bader Centre is going to feel like a home we’ve always dreamed of.”
The Showcase takes place Friday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $5 for students/seniors and $10 for adults and available at the door.