Message from Dr. Miles in Tornado Aftermath




Feb. 13, 2013

MEETING: All music faculty are asked to meet at 11 a.m. Thursday, February 14 in BENNETT AUDITORIUM.





Feb. 12, 2013

School of Music Director Dr. Michael MilesGreetings, everyone.  I apologize for this late post, but today was a very intense day of decisions and information processing.  Let me first thank all of those who have sent messages of concern, volunteered assistance, and pledged support.  We are humbled by your generosity and support.  We hope to organize some fundraising events in the coming weeks and hope we can count on you at that point.  Our jazz program was completely destroyed and will need help rebuilding.  The last two days has been a flood of information processing to attempt to make the best decisions as we move forward.  We will survive and move forward, but our reality just changed significantly.  While our facilities were not the best, they were structures we could make work.  Our new reality will be very different.  Let me express here my resolve to make sure the School of Music will maintain its status as the premier music program in our state, and we will continue our progress in becoming one of the premier music programs in the country.  To that end Audition Day will take place Friday as planned.  We need student volunteers to report to Bennett Auditorium at 9:00 a.m. to assist.  More to come on that topic tomorrow.

I was able to walk through all of our spaces today to assess damage.  It is extensive.  We will not be back in our buildings any time in the near future.  Insurance adjusters will determine the future of the buildings.  PAC is in good shape except for 2 inches of water in 029, and 009 which has a window blown out and some interior damage.  The PAC auditorium has huge wholes in the roof over the stage, and the rain of the past two days has leaked down into 029, thus accounting for the water in 029.  The garage door to 029 was blown in by the tornado.  If you haven't heard this part of the story, the cast of Sweeney Todd was rehearsing in the auditorium on Sunday.  When the tornado tore through our neighborhood I called Mike Lopinto and told him to get everyone in the basement. Two minutes later the tornado hit the building and the Jazz Station.  The student were all fine, but shaken.  Even in that state they moved all the percussion equipment from 009 to the percussion rooms, and all the computers from the computer lab into the Student Services office.  Those students and Dr. Lopinto, all still in a state of shock, were heroes this day.

The FAB is in bad shape.  The lobby is completely destroyed with all windows and doors broken.  A large business sign rests in the courtyard.  The recital hall is in good shape except for the 10 foot long tree limb that came through the roof backstage and hit one of the Steinways.  The water leaked on the most recently purchased piano to the point that the keys won't move due to swelling wood.  There are a couple of leaks above the stage and the stage wood is warping from the moisture.  The offices and classrooms in FAB are a study in tornados.  Lots of broken windows, but the contents of most rooms appears undisturbed. It does not appear there is a great deal of damage to either personal or university equipment.  Just lots of broken windows.

Students need to access their SOAR accounts to check the location of their music classes.  To all students:  MUSIC CLASSES ARE CANCELLED UNTIL MONDAY, BUT YOU STILL MUST ATTEND YOUR OTHER CLASSES.  Your music classes will begin Monday on a staggered schedule.  Major ensembles will meet.  All band and orchestra rehearsals will be in Bennett Auditorium, and all Chorale rehearsals will take place at Parkway Heights Methodist Church. We will post schedules as they develop, but most academic classes have been moved and will meet Monday.  We will also be releasing tomorrow a schedule of allowing faculty and students to access the buildings to retrieve their personal items.  The times of access will be scheduled and controlled by security, so it is imperative that you only come when you are supposed to. That schedule should be posted tomorrow around noon.  Faculty will also be contacting students to assist with helping them move out of their offices.  

Alumni, patrons, supporters and all others who have been so generous with your support.  We will need help.  There will be calls for help soon.  I hope you will still be there for us.  I am sorry I haven't been able to respond to all the calls, texts and emails, but decisions are being made very quickly and demand my full attention.  The final plan for our move will be decided tomorrow and we will let you know where we are going.  The bottom line is that we will be moving, and may not all be moving together.  It will be a difficult time, but we have a wonderful music family that will support each other in this difficult transition.  We hope you will stand by us as well.  I need to also say that our Dean Moser and all the administration, including our newly appointed President, have listened, assisted, and made the music program Priority I during this process.  I can't imagine a more supportive administration in this process.  They have worked tirelessly on our behalf and we will make the best of a terrible situation with their support.

Take care, and remember how lucky we all are.

Dr. Miles