Students Express a Need for Music Facility Improvement

A student coalition called Students for a Ramapo Music Center is at work raising awareness of the need for a more fitting facility for the growing music program.

The music program, which has tripled in size over the past seven years, is mostly confined to the third floor of the Berrie Center, which has a couple of rehearsal rooms and only one designated classroom.

Alex Hoteck, a freshman film major and president of Students for a Ramapo Music Center, is spearheading this group with the help of fellow students and some members of the faculty. Although the group currently has about 20 members, the lack of an adequate facility affects more than just those involved with the coalition.

“Music is a big part of Ramapo,” said Hoteck. “There is so much music happening on campus, whether it be majors, ensembles, the chorale, or just jamming outside; it includes a lot of people who would benefit from a music center.”

Hoteck brought up the issue at the State of the College Address during the Q-and-A session. President Mercer replied saying it was an important issue and that it’s in the conceptualization phase.

The student coalition has been in existence for about a year, and so far their method of raising awareness has been mainly confined to jamming on the campus lawns in the spirit of protest artists like Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie.

The coalition was initiated during Hoteck’s first-year seminar course last semester, which was comprised of all music majors and worked under the overarching theme of “music as an agent of change.” The class discussed how their community could be changed through music and decided to raise awareness for the need for a new music facility. 

Marc Gidal, Assistant Professor of Music, reiterated that the facilities for the music program are less than complimentary to the size and talent of the program, but there has been progress and more can certainly be done.

“The music production facilities have been expanded recently in the Berrie Center and H-wing, but none of the performance halls are really well-suited,” said Gidal. “The initial stage is building awareness.”

There are currently no real plans, blueprints or funds for the addition of a music center but that doesn’t mean there won’t be in the future. The effort has only just begun and shows promise through the efforts of not only the young coalition, but also through mirroring projects that have been approved already, including a new nursing center, as well as expansions and updates to the G-wing, which show Ramapo’s dedication to improving the quality of their programs.

Many students who have experienced life-changing experiences through Ramapo’s music program think that a music center would only enhance that experience for future students, including Kate Reynolds, President of the Ramapo Chorale.

“It has been so rewarding to be part of Chorale’s growth and I can only imagine how much a music building could mean to the entire program,” said Reynolds. “Having a more appropriate space for rehearsal and performances would mean that the social event of singing could be more easily shared with the campus and community. Most importantly, as I’ve already mentioned, music is for everyone and so a music building has the potential to benefit every student, regardless of major.”