When the School of Music at The University of Southern Mississippi opens its 2012 Connoisseur Series on Tuesday, Jan. 31, the audience will get its first experience in the newly renovated Marsh Auditorium (map). And fittingly so, world-renowned acapella vocal ensemble, Quink, will be the first to try out the new hall’s acoustics.
Part of the Connoisseur Series at the Southern Miss School of Music, the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Thanks to a generous grant from Partners for the Arts, admission is free. Seating is limited.
Built by architects Landry & Matthis, Marsh Hall, part of the original Academic/Fine Arts Building, was built in 1954. It was home to numerous musical productions of all kinds, including a popular annual performance of Handel’s Messiah.
In 1961, the hall was named in honor of Frank Earl Marsh, chairman of the Department of Music, 1930-1960. With the addition of the Mannoni Performing Arts Center in 1972, the hall became home to smaller performance including recitals by students and faculty.
Until now, the hall has undergone few changes over the years. Over the past year, a sound shell was added to add acoustical presence to the room and also shield light and distractions from the outer lobby during performances. Most notably, new, much more comfortable seating and ADA accessible accommodations were installed. Future plans include work on the stage proscenium, upgraded technology and aesthetic touches both in the hall and in the lobby.
The School of Music will continue to exhaust all resources in pursuit of providing students, faculty and patrons with the excellent teaching, learning and listening environments they richly deserve. The renovation of Marsh Auditorium is but one of an ongoing series of improvements to a learning environment that will create optimum conditions for the musical experiences of all constituents.
The improvements in Marsh Auditorium were made possible through support from the College of Arts and Letters and music course fees. Design concepts were created by Dr. Mike Lopinto.