Christopher Kendall, dean of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, provided the following statement regarding the School's long-standing committment to the gamelan program as the Earl V. Moore Building undergoes a major expansion and renovation:
As construction begins on a major addition/renovation at the Earl V. Moore Building, there has been concern expressed by students, faculty, and the public for how the project will affect the gamelan program. As many people know, the U-M gamelan is a group of Javanese musical instruments, part of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments, which was acquired by the University in 1965. They are regularly used by the gamelan ensemble, often in conjunction with visiting artists that include musicians, puppeteers and dancers.
Because it consists of 69 instruments-- including some that are either very large or very delicate-- there are unique challenges in securing appropriate space and storage accomodations for the instruments, which demand careful storage, and for the program, which requires a large rehearsal space. However, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance has remained dedicated to insuring the continuation of the program and has worked for many months to find a way to keep the program going during construction and to plan for the future.
First, members of our musicology and ethnomusicology faculties have been actively involved in the discussions and planning for how to accommodate the gamelan program both during the renovation and after, when the Moore Building will be significantly reconfigured, particularly in regards to practice and rehearsal spaces.
Second, I would like to share the facts of the situation, to confirm our intent and our commitment to the future of the program:
- As part of the construction process, many of the spaces in the south part of the Moore Building must be temporarily relocated, including the gamelan rehearsal and storage space.
- The gamelan program has been temporarily relocated to the Stearns Building for the duration of the renovation (which concludes in fall 2015). We have invested in new carts to store the instruments, which were expertly moved.
- Rehearsals will take place in the large first floor classroom in Stearns, and though all the instruments will not be used, the space can comfortably accommodate the players.
- Nineteen instruments were selected by the gamelan director to be used at Stearns throughout the renovation, and the remainder are stored with the rest of the Stearns Collection but are accessible for concert use.
- We are currently conducting an analysis to determine future use of our renovated spaces for all of our many ensembles. Until the study is concluded, no decision on the permanent home of the gamelan has been made. We are committed, however, to finding a permanent home for the program and the instruments so that it can continue to flourish.
We are also committed to completing the renovation and expansion of Moore with as little disruption as possible, but cooperation and understanding will be required as we work through this project. Meanwhile, I urge that questions about the gamelan relocation or the construction project, be directed to me. We appreciate the patience of our students, staff and faculty as we embark on this exciting project.
Christopher Kendall, Dean
School of Music, Theatre & Dance
University of Michigah