When I toured Elon University for the first time, I instantly fell in love with the sleek, modern buildings that made up Arts West. I was extremely impressed by the facilities and could picture myself sitting in the leather seat behind the mixing board recording my songs in the immaculate studios. I told my parents the same day that I had decided to make Elon my home for the next four years. Many prospective students like myself have found places within the gorgeous buildings of Elon to explore their strengths and hone in on their craft. It wasn’t until later on that I discovered not all music facilities were created equal.
My first class in the Center for the Arts was Aural Skills. I was greeted by a warm smile from my professor, and then I promptly sat down in a dated seat. I was cramped with around 15 peers in a piano lab. It was very shocking to see the substantial deficit in funding. Every other class I’d been in until that point had been clean, bright and modern. The Center for the Arts stands out sorely against Elon’s characteristic, classical Greek architecture.
I got a concerned email in November regarding the conditions of the Center For the Arts — the sizable, blocky building adjacent to Lake Mary Nell. While students were rehearsing for Elon’s winter show, "Sweeney Todd," many performers were affected by the apparent mold problem at McCrary Theatre.
“From talking to friends and peers, it seems what we have been told in the past is that the theater has been cleaned and checked for mold, but there was not enough mold present to go in and eradicate the problem completely. That, or the mold problem is not present at all," said senior musical theatre major Alec Michael Ryan. "From my personal experiences over the last three and a half years, I am confident that is not completely true and the conditions in McCrary Theatre need to be reassessed and improved.”
In addition to the mold situation, many performance students have complained about the lack of sound proofing in the practice room. Recently, when I went to practice my pieces for Electric Ensemble, I could hear everyone else’s voices and instruments bleeding through the paper-thin walls. I was extremely distracted and couldn’t give my full attention to my piece. At the very least, the Center for the Arts should alter their practice rooms so they’re noise cancelling and conducive to practicing. Elon has highly esteemed musical theater alumni who have had roles on multiple Broadway shows.
The Center for the Arts should ideally reflect the spirit of the performances being held in it. The art ingrained in the architecture would in turn inspire younger generations to create something great as well. If the Center for the Arts aligned with the irrefutable beauty of the rest of campus, Elon could recruit more students who are looking for a home on campus to cultivate their passion and love of music.