From a wooden College of Music building to the structure now being built, what a change! I’ve enjoyed it all—from those years long ago to its newest form.
As a child, one of my father’s [former voice area head Berton Coffin] voice students would walk me across Broadway from University Hill Elementary to his second floor studio in the old music building. My first marriage proposal, at age 10, came from another of my father’s voice students, who swooped me up in his arms. His wife would later say he certainly didn’t wait for me to grow up! That building’s long gone, replaced years ago by the western portion of the UMC.
By the late ‘50s or early ‘60s, a new College of Music building was built. During my years at CU, I frequently stopped by my father’s studio for a quick chat or to peer through the window to wave ‘Hi.’ Gone is that window, along with his studio and those of others on the south side of the building.
Gone is the choir room near the south corridors of studios, where I sang with the Women’s Glee Club and later the University Choir. Several years ago, that earlier choir room was remodeled into the Chamber Hall. It too is gone now with the new building transforming that side.
Sitting in Grusin Hall, I have many happy memories of rehearsing and performing there during those University Choir days. Most of those years, David Glissmann conducted these different choirs. I learned a life lesson then: When your favorite conductor (or boss) leaves, you need to accept and work with the new person. Leaders change and so must we.
Growing up in the College of Music, I remember different faculty and staff members, along with their families. Some who immediately come to mind include Bill and June Glendennin (son Richie), Warner and Norma Imig (daughter Betsy and I used to enjoy play dates), Storm and Ellen Bull (daughter Chrissy), Gene Hilligoss, Jo Baird, Hugh McMillan, Howard Waltz, Cecil Effinger and the Parmelees.
As Artist Series director, my mother, Mildred Coffin, invited music faculty members to our home for a reception following a guest artist’s performance. Watching my parents host his graduate students at home influenced me to do likewise when teaching college classes elsewhere.
When I returned to Boulder in 2001 following an education career in California, I joined the Vocal Advisory and College of Music Advisory Boards. For many years, we looked at designs and explored possible relocations for the music building. What a delight to be on the eve of opening this long-awaited building!
Our students and programs continue to excel. Soon they’ll have a facility that complements their talent. We can now celebrate a new building where more great music is taught and performed, and new memories are made.