Music department at UNCA may undergo transformation

Miles Neyen
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The University of North Carolina at Asheville’s music department may receive bigger facilities and playing spaces, according to staff in the department.
“Because our student numbers have grown, we are out of space, we are currently right on the tipping point because we need more people but don’t have enough space,” said Melodie Galloway, chair of the music department.
UNC Asheville has more than 100 music majors, but only three actual music classrooms and one building for music activities. Lipinsky Hall was not originally built for music. It was the campus’ first student union building, according to the university.
The equipment used in the department could be harmed because Lipinsky Hall does not have fully humidity controlled classrooms. The building may undergo a complete transformation and be entirely reconstructed into a more fitting building, Galloway said.
“Our greatest need is an actual concert hall. We use a lobby as the main choral practice place,” she said.
“The music department doesn’t even own all of Lipinsky, the third floor is reserved for administration,” According to Christine Boone, an assistant music professor at UNCA.
The music program grew very fast in size and quality. In the last eight years, it grew significantly and outgrew its previous space, Boone said.
“We recently got a donation from a CD production factory. They donated a few soundproof practice modules to us, but we just didn’t have anywhere to put them. They are now in the library. The modules are not 100 percent soundproof, so library staff is expressing concern because it isn’t full quiet,” Boone said.
Students noticed the issues involving Lipinsky Hall and the music department as a whole.
“The program as a whole needs to be expanded and upgraded. The facilities just aren’t fit or big enough for the quickly growing department,” said Kevin Thomas, a music student at UNCA.
Though the department’s facilities need to be expanded, the upsides outweigh the downsides involving the music department, according to Thomas.
“We do have a lot of support from the administration and money will follow that support, but very soon we will need a new facility, a real music building,” Galloway said. “Except for that, there are so many positive things happening in the department, especially the staff. They are extremely motivated and want to keep expanding.”
Two-thirds of the staff performs music outside of just UNCA. This does not happen in every school’s music department. UNCA is also the only college in the area with a jazz performance degree, Boone said.
The students in the music department say the staff goes unsurpassed and love the program overall.
“The music department is still great, the staff and curriculum are fantastic. I love it.” Thomas said.
Nine full-time faculty and staff members and nine adjunct professors work in the department. The department constantly has student and staff led events every week.
“I still think we are the best department on campus,” Galloway said.