One of the latest renovations on campus comes with a $15 million price tag — and a new dedication to former UNC Chancellor James Moeser and his wife, Susan Moeser.
Hill Hall’s auditorium will be dubbed James and Susan Moeser Auditorium to accompany the renovations that will expand the performing arts program.
Mark Katz, chairman of the music department, said this is a way to honor Moeser, who served as UNC’s chancellor from 2000 to 2008.
“(They) did so much for the arts on campus,” he said. “So many things we enjoy now are due to (their) initiative.”
Music has always been a passion for the Moesers, as both have a long history in music as organists.
Although he tabled his performing when he became chancellor, James Moeser incorporated his love for music into his agenda. When he was appointed, James Moeser took a tour of the campus and dedicated his first task to restoring the music library, then housed in Hill Hall, by moving it to the bottom of Wilson Library. This marked the first of a trend of expansions to the performing arts program in his reign.
“It’s a perfect fit that will have a major impact on the campus,” he said. “It’ll give Carolina the facilities for first-class events in the new auditorium.”
Susan Moeser remains involved with the music program as the University organist and organ teacher.
She has taken advantage of the campus facilities, having performed in Hill Hall with an organ symphony and orchestra.
She is returning to performing regularly in North Carolina after a short hiatus and is currently planning her performing schedule for the year.
“I’m cautiously optimistic, but there is talk of having an organ in the hall,” she said.
James Moeser has played the organ all over the world, but sidelined his music to work as interim chancellor of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He revisited his music after leaving the UNC-CH chancellor’s office in 2008, but his last performance was in 2010 with his wife at the University of Kansas.
However, the prospect of a new organ in James and Susan Moeser Audition might incite his return to recitals, he said.
The fundraising for Hill Hall came from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, the Office of the Provost and the UNC-CH Arts and Sciences Foundation, because the state did not allot funds for the project.
Hill Hall’s existing architecture remains outdated as a result of its initial usage as the University’s first library.
“The space wasn’t designed to be a concert hall, so it wasn’t designed for a place for music,” Katz said.
“The sound has never been ideal.”
Improvements will allow for the hall to be a more inviting space for musicians and audiences alike, attracting internationally renowned performers, he said.
Renovations on the building will begin in 2015, and will likely last about two years. In the meantime, Memorial Hall will be used for student musicians.
“The biggest benefit would be to the student musicians because they will be able to hear themselves better and come across better to audiences,” Katz said.
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