AUSTIN - "To really hear these orchestras come together and really play very musically, something that's beyond just the notes. I mean we see notes here, but this is just ink. They bring it to life. I help, but they are the ones who are playing it. There's nothing better than that," Austin High School director of orchestras Gene Schott muses about his favorite spot in his orchestra room: his podium.
But soon, he'll have a new room to conduct his student orchestras in.
Construction will begin in January 2019 to remodel the existing annex behind the main building of Austin High School, and to add a second level to the annex to house the music department.
"There's things that our kids haven't had the opportunity to do just because of the space limitations so it'll really be able to provide us new and bright facilities but also opportunities in music creation," says Austin Public Schools superintendent David Krenz.
"As we move forward and we look at what this means for our kids, it's gonna be some really dynamic music spaces that they're going to be able to produce amazing music. We already have really strong music programs and this is just going to take us to an even high level," adds Austin High School principal Andrea Malo.
MacPhail Center for Music and community music organizations such as the Austin Community Band and Austin Symphony Orchestra will also utilize the facility.
60% of the project is being funded by the Hormel Institute, and the school district will pay the remaining 40% with the assitance of various sources. The project is anticipated to be completed in 2020.
"We've had such a long history and tradition of musical excellence here at Austin High School, and it will be great to have a facility that reflects that," says Schott.