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Saturday, May 08, 2021
The new Hamel Music Center will increase performance and rehearsal space for the UW-Madison School of Music.

The new Hamel Music Center will increase performance and rehearsal space for the UW-Madison School of Music.

New Music Hall incites “passion and excitement” in students

UW-Madison Mead Writter School of Music students are singing high praises for the new Hamel Music Center under construction on University Avenue.

The building, which will include an ensemble rehearsal hall and two concert halls, will replace Mills Performance Hall as the School of Music’s primary concert venue and allow students more space for individual recitals.

According to UW-Madison senior and cello major Cole Randolph, the new facility will encourage students to put more time into practice and help boost attendance at concerts.

“[Hamel Music Center is] only going to replace the concert hall, but to be able to perform in a concert hall [where] the quality of acoustics are pretty high will encourage us to put more time into our crafts and also instill more passion and creativity into us,” Randolph said.

The acoustics as well as aesthetics of Mills Hall are outdated, according to Randolph — a problem the sound engineers and architects have worked hard to remedy in the new building, according to project manager Pete Heaslett.

“These will be flexible, responsive spaces and will ensure that we can share a range of musical experiences,” said Susan Cook, director of the UW-Madison Mead Writter School of Music in a UW-Madison press release.

Mills Hall, located in the Humanities building, is difficult to navigate and very “boxed in” according to Randolph. He hopes the new facility will encourage peers who may not know about the school’s music program to attend more performances and support the program.

“The new hall will encourage people … even people from the community to come out and just experience the new building with the students,” Randolph said.

The project was initiated about seven years ago but was put on hold when fundraising efforts stalled, according to Heaslett. However, Heaslett said the building is still a “100 percent gift-funded project.”

The final project will cost the university $55 million but will not affect tuition dollars, according to Heaslett.

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