by Hannah Stafford, News Editor
Due to a generous donation, Akers Auditorium has been receiving quite the makeover. This space in the McCreless Fine Arts building has been under construction since the early part of this summer and is expected to be finished next semester. The renovations were made possible by the estate of the late Eda Jameson, a longtime supporter of the Music Department. When completed, the auditorium will feature wheelchair accessible seating and stage access, improved lighting and better seating. There are also many additions that will contribute to the performers and to the quality of art produced, such as acoustic paneling and a performance-friendly HVAC system.
“As a music major, having a newly renovated performance space is so exciting!” junior Brooke Way said. “I have a junior recital coming up in the spring, and the fact that Akers will be handicap accessible will make it easier for my mom and family to fully enjoy the performance.”
Another improvement, which has sparked much conversation, is an expanded stage area for performers, made possible by the removal of the pipe organ. Though many have acknowledged this as a loss, it was a unanimous decision of the music faculty to do so, allowing more space for musicians.
Organist Mark Schell, chair of the Music Department, said, “It was a very difficult decision, but this will allow the space to be utilized better for more students.”
The organ has been relocated to Heritage Church in Centerville, Tenn., and organ students at Asbury will still have many multiple opportunities to practice and play on other organs on campus and in Wilmore.
Senior Phoebe Glaser was initially unsure of the changes but soon became enthusiastic as well. “Even though at first I was pretty disappointed that they were going to change the old Akers and make it new, I was looking at the renderings of the new design for the auditorium and became really excited. It’s an Akers 2.0!”
Adam Rousey, a senior music major, is looking forward to the fellowship and community that will be built in the new auditorium.
“I’ve always been fond of Akers,” he said. “It’s been a tertiary home of sorts, in terms of Asbury University and though it is unfortunate that it is under construction right now, I am very much looking forward to the new sound—the new feel,” said Rousey. “Ultimately I’m looking forward to the new music and new community that will be built in it.”
Students and faculty alike are very grateful to the Jameson estate for this generous gift and the auditorium is being named Jameson Recital Hall, in her honor.
“Jameson Recital Hall will be a beautiful aesthetic space dedicated to the production of quality music concerts of all types for the entire community,” Schell said. “The variable acoustic environment will allow for the audience to appreciate a wide range of programming — everything from the intimate sounds of a solo vocalist or violinist to the full sound of a concert band or orchestra, from the amplified sounds of a Broadway musical to the natural sounds of an opera. Jameson Recital Hall will quickly become a place where the Asbury community longs to gather together often.”