From the Heart, For the Kingdom
On October 13, more than 250 guests gathered in Wheaton’s campus quad to celebrate the commencement of construction of the new home for the Conservatory of Music.
The event began with a procession of banners, dancers, instrumentalists, and singers, symbolically moving from their current home in McAlister Hall to celebrate construction of their new home, singing “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”
Dean of the Conservatory, Arts, and Communication Michael Wilder marveled at the occasion, exclaiming, “What a day!” Dean Wilder acknowledged the patience of the Conservatory faculty waiting for years—even decades—for a modern facility built specifically for music making, with the space and acoustical safety for all who wish to make music at Wheaton.
“What we find here today is a thriving, musical, and artistic community, actively engaged in music-making, endeavoring to follow God in composing, performing, teaching, ministry, and outreach,” Dean Wilder said.
He felt it appropriate to pause and ask the question, “Why music and the arts in the first place?” His answer was to quote J. S. Bach: “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”
The culmination of the celebration took place when Chairman of the Board of Trustees Dr. David Gieser ’71 announced the new name of the Conservatory building: the Armerding Center for Music and the Arts.
After asking guests to “make a joyful noise” with percussion shakers they received upon arriving, a large banner was unfurled from the roof of Armerding, displaying the building’s new name. At the same time, students played a brass fanfare from the neighboring rooftop of Schell Hall—a piece composed by Conservatory student Nathanael Schatz ’19 specifically for the occasion.
Following the event, guests were led by architectural, construction, and College project teams on tours of the currently cavernous Armerding Center for Music and the Arts.
Read more about the new Armerding Center for Music and the Arts in a feature article: "Remarkable: The New Armerding Center for Music and the Arts."