Petro-Canada Hall a community resource
It's a physical space with such finely engineered acoustics that it's been likened to a musical instrument. It's versatile and will provide audiences and performers with a transformative listening and performing experience. One of the most advanced rehearsal and performance facilities in the city of St. John's opened Thursday, Mar. 17. Memorial University's new Petro-Canada Hall is considered a technological gem, a blend of art and technology that will be the latest resource for the university and the wider provincial music community.
Petro-Canada Hall was constructed with $1.2 million in support provided by Petro-Canada, operator of the Terra Nova offshore oil development and participant in the White Rose and Hibernia projects.
The Hall is a $1.8 million state-of-the-art facility that is now used for teaching, research and performances, in addition to being available for rental to community groups. Officials from Memorial University, Petro-Canada and the provincial government gathered at the university to officially open the new facility which was built as an extension to the M. O. Morgan (Music) Building.
Petro-Canada's support of the project arose from a research and development/education and training expenditure commitment to the White Rose development.
“We were attracted to this project partly because it stepped outside the engineering and science realm that normally draws our support,” said Ron Brenneman, president and chief executive officer of Petro-Canada. “And we liked the community concept for Petro-Canada Hall. It is a true ‘community hall' that broadens the reach of the university beyond its traditional student and faculty constituency. When a university becomes accessible in that way, it also becomes an integral part of the community. Petro-Canada is proud to be part of the community and we congratulate Memorial University on the opening of this impressive new facility.”
The new 195 square metre (2,100 square foot) rehearsal and performance facility adjoins the M.O. Morgan Music Building near the D. F. Cook Recital Hall, on the east side of the building. With a performance area of approximately 56 square metres (600 square feet), an audience capacity of 124 people and a large rehearsal capacity, the new Petro-Canada Hall positions the School of Music to expand its performance and conference capabilities. The new facility also includes a small suite of offices available for temporary use by university and community music organizations.
The Petro-Canada Hall enables the School of Music to increase the range of services it can offer to the music community, both within the St. John's metropolitan area and through the extended reach of electronic communication. Equipped for both recording and Web-casting, the facility links the School of Music to global communities for real-time distance instruction and multi-site rehearsal. Students and professors will be able to connect with colleagues and mentors from anywhere and hear and interact almost as if they were in the same room.
Meantime, retired St. John's businessman Roy Ash donated a Kawai series EX concert grand piano to the School of Music this past year. With the financial support of Mr. Ash, and with the assistance of Music City and Steve Edwards, this piano was purchased in Quebec City where it had served as a concert instrument for the last two year and delivered to Memorial's Petro-Canada Hall.