Warren Wilson College has received a grant from the Charles H. Kaman Charitable Foundation to help complete the renovation and upgrade of the college’s Kittredge Music Wing. The grant is in the amount of $107,960 over two years, with renovation scheduled to begin early in 2014.
The music wing, part of the Kittredge Community Arts Center built in the mid 1970s, includes a 60-seat recital hall, music practice rooms, offices and a music resource center that has a large and varied collection of recordings, scores and DVDs. The renovation and upgrade of the music wing will focus on the recital hall as a performance venue for various music and arts events, and will include new audiovisual equipment and recording capability as well as new upholstered, acoustical baffling panels.
Music is a major and ever-present part of campus life throughout the year at Warren Wilson. During the summer, hundreds of musicians, dancers and storytellers from around the world come to campus for The Swannanoa Gathering, a five-week series of folk arts workshops. The days are filled with classes taught by world-renowned instructors and evenings by concerts, dances and jam sessions that last long into the night.
“We are thrilled and grateful for this generous grant from the Kaman Foundation, which will significantly upgrade one of the college’s largest classroom spaces,” said Jim Magill, The Swannanoa Gathering director. “The Gathering, especially, will benefit from another space with wooden flooring, allowing an expansion of our dance offerings, while both the college’s Music Department and the Gathering will make frequent use of the room’s better acoustics and ventilation system.”
The college’s academic music program is designed for students with career ambitions in music, as well as for those who wish to incorporate music into their broader liberal arts experience. It emphasizes an open and diverse understanding of music, the improvement of performance skills and a strong foundation of musical knowledge.
In addition to a conventional music minor, the college’s Music Department also offers a unique concentration in traditional music, with an Appalachian music program reflecting the rich traditions of music and dance from the southern mountains.
Among the other ongoing music and dance programs on campus are the summertime Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival; year-round Old Farmer’s Ball, a weekly contra and square dance; Fiddles & Folklife, an April festival featuring old-time music contests, jam sessions, dancing and folklife demonstrations; and an Appalachian Music Concert Series, monthly concerts of music from the region and beyond. Each of these programs will be enhanced by the Kittredge Music Wing upgrade and renovation.