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CONTACT: Bruce Smith
Public Information Officer
(310) 434-4209
DATE: July 9, 2007


Santa Monica College 's renowned Music Department is gearing up for a big move in August to the Madison campus, site of the college's award-winning Madison Theater , a 541-seat performing arts hall currently under construction.

The historic change in venue for the college's musicians will offer more space, an array of state-of-the-art classrooms and practice rooms and, eventually, access to what promises to be a unique mid-sized performing arts center on the Westside.

“We're excited about having a nice place with all our instruments, equipment, archive materials and more,” said Music Department chair James Smith , who oversees a program that has transferred students to such top music schools as USC, Boston University and New School in New York. “We have more rooms and great new equipment.”

The move into the department's new home is expected to begin in early August and be completed in time for the beginning of the school year on Aug. 27. The Madison campus, located on Santa Monica Boulevard between 10 th and 11 th streets, has been closed since 2005 for refurbishment and remodeling to accommodate the music program and for construction of the Madison Theater , which is connected to the Madison campus classroom building. Funding for the Madison project comes from

Measures U and S, bonds approved by Santa Monica-Malibu voters in 2002 and 2004, respectively.

Dubbed the Madison Music & Performing Arts Campus, the newly minted facility features:

• 10 classrooms, some of which are designed for specific instruments – guitar, voice and piano among them. Five of the classrooms are “smart,” with multimedia set-ups that include DVD player, computer and more.

• 27 air-conditioned practice rooms with pianos, nearly double the 14 currently on campus. Three of the rooms are large enough for string quartet, trio or duo practices and five of them can be tuned for the acoustics desired – for example, the sound that would be heard if a recital were being given in a large hall or a living room or other kind of space.

• Access to a “black box” rehearsal hall, located at the back of the Madison Theater and connected to the Madison campus. The 120-seat flexible facility, with complete technical capability, can be used not only for rehearsals but also for intimate musical and theatrical performances.

• Two voice accompanist rooms with pianos. This is the first time the accompanists – Gary Gray and Don Fredrickson – will each have his own private space to work with students for voice coaching and practice.

• A media lab in which music theory, new technology and other courses are taught.

• A small library, storage rooms, and a small bookstore to be open limited hours at the beginning and end of each semester.

• Music faculty and Madison administrative offices.

• The re-opening of the 4,000-square-foot Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery , which has also been closed since 2005.

• Free parking for SMC students and employees in a 300-space lot (of which 100 spaces will be cordoned off for construction crew use until completion of the Madison Theater in late fall).

Smith said about 80 percent to 90 percent of the music classes will move to Madison , but the department will continue to offer a handful of courses on the main campus. Some non-music courses will be offered at Madison .

Meanwhile, construction continues on the Madison Theater , which is expected to have a “soft opening” with smaller performances next winter and a grand opening with gala in May 2008. The theater, which recently won an architecture award from the Los Angeles Business Council, will be a venue for a mix of college and professional performances in music, dance and theater, along with lectures and other events. The theater grounds will include landscaping and beautiful upper and lower courtyards.


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