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The Presser Foundation recently awarded the music department $20,000 to make more practice rooms available to students.

To meet the demands of increasing enrollment, the department is more than doubling the number of practice rooms, starting with portable Wenger rooms that became available this semester. The practice rooms are sound-isolated, free standing, pre-wired, and can be moved or reconfigured easily. Some models can be configured to simulate the acoustics of various playing environments such as a concert hall or gothic cathedral.

During the first phase of the expansion plan, the department secured funding for four individual-sized soundproof Wenger practice rooms, which were placed on the bottom floor of the South College residence hall in 2004. In order to meet the department’s requirements, more individual-sized rooms and an ensemble-sized practice room to accommodate at least 15 students are needed. The music department recently acquired additional space in the Williams Center for the Arts and will convert room 214, formerly a sculpture room, into an ensemble-sized Wenger room with the funds awarded by the Presser Foundation.

“The Presser Foundation grant will be very beneficial in our current upgrading of music department facilities. Students will reap the benefits of additional and improved practice facilities,” says Larry Stockton, professor and head of music.

Since the opening of the Williams Center for the Arts in 1983, Lafayette’s music program has continued to flourish, growing from two full-time faculty members to the current staff of six full-timeand six adjunct instructors. Student enrollment in the department’s courses has followed this trend, more than doubling in the past ten years. Today, the department has 28 declared majors and minors. Each semester, approximately 100 students take private instrumental and voice lessons, and approximately 175 students are enrolled in performance ensembles (choir, band, orchestra, jazz, and chamber ensembles). The music program has numerous noteworthy opportunities, including a global approach to music education, a thriving performing arts series, an artist-in-residence program, and a wide variety of ensembles.

The Theodore Presser Company is the oldest continuing music publisher in the United States. Theodore Presser (1848-1925) is remembered not only as the publisher of The Etude music magazine and founder of the publishing firm, but also as a philanthropist in the cause of music education.The publishing company that Presser founded was so successful that in 1906 he was able to express his appreciation to those who made this success possible by establishing the Presser Home for Retired Music Teachers in a suburb of Philadelphia. His philanthropic zeal is continued today through the Presser Foundation, founded in 1916. Each year the foundation awards scholarships, grants, and funds to further the cause of music education and music in America.

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