Town and university united by music space


While DePauw students were away from campus and the surrounding town of Greencastle for the summer, a new space opened in the town square that aims to bridge the two with joyful noise.

Music on the Square, or "M2" as it is sometimes called, is a storefront space on the square that provides a location for musical opportunities not only for DePauw students, but also the residents of Greencastle. It is located at 21 N Indiana Street, just a short walk away from campus.

The opening of the space coincided with the Global Musician Workshop, hosted in mid-June by DePauw University. One hundred students, hailing from 12 countries, converged on this small campus to share their cultures through music. Those in attendance also had the opportunity to learn from some world-class musicians from the Silk Road Ensemble and  famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Music on the Square opened on June 8 at a ceremony that included a ribbon cutting and much fanfare. In addition to handling the prop scissors for the ribbon cutting, Ma took part in the festivities by christening the space with a performance.

Ma is also the chair of the advisory board for the School of Music’s 21st Century Musician Initiative, which was instrumental in the creation of this music space and the Global Musician Workshop.

Several events have already been planned for the space. Friday evening and Saturday morning, instructors will be present to lead drum circles and “instrument petting zoos,” where children of all ages will be able to enjoy some great music and even try out the instruments for themselves. The School of Music has also moved some of its events, such as Faculty Select series concerts and a smaller gathering with A Far Cry, the first artist in the Green Guest Artist series, from on-campus to the town music space.

The space offers state-of-the-art acoustic technology which DePauw students will be able to utilize.

“You want it to sound like a church, and it will. You want it to sound like a stadium, and it will. You can plug in your phone, and it will play the orchestral accompaniment, and it will listen and speed up or slow down to match you,” School of Music Dean Mark McCoy said.

The students in the School of Music are excited for the new opportunities this space will bring them.

“It gives us more chances for community outreach and making a difference,” said sophomore music student Sierra Graves. “It helps us not be in a box.”

However, this space is not just for use by DePauw students and faculty. Those same children who have the opportunity to explore the instruments this weekend, as well as community members of all ages, also will have the chance to enroll in music classes and lessons that will take place at Music on the Square; some of those classes will be taught by DePauw students and faculty.

McCoy sees this space as a place where the community can gather and enjoy great music, and he hopes it will strengthen ties between the university and the community to create what he calls a “musical communiversity.”

McCoy said the School of Music hosted 205 performances during the 2014-2015 academic year, and the availability of this new space could boost that. Whether it does or not, there is certainly not a shortage of exciting things going on at the School of Music.