Sweet music

Performing Arts Laboratory debuts at Tiffin University

PHOTO BY NICOLE WALBY Tiffin University students practice in the keyboard and production lab at TU’s Performing Arts Laboratory.

The Tiffin University Music Department started 22 years ago with no rehearsal rooms or recording space and today has grown into its own 14,000-square-foot facility.

“It has been a roller coaster over the last two years,” Brad Reese, TU’s director in the music department, said.

“The students are more excited than we are,” he said.

The idea for the Performing Arts Laboratory — located at 227 Miami St., the site of the former Pettibone factory — started in response to the rapid growth of TU’s music department.

The lab includes two acoustically isolated rehearsal halls, a keyboard and production lab, a multi-track digital recording studio, practice rooms, teaching studios and an outdoor performance space.

PHOTO BY NICOLE WALBY Brad Reese talks about the history of the music program and how the department has grown Thursday afternoon during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Tiffin University Performing Arts Laboratory.

Reese said when the department was established, students had to rehearse in hallways and stairwells, wherever they found space. And they used a walk-in freezer as a recording space, Reese said.

“We now have a home for our bands and ensembles, with room to grow,” he said. “We have a home for our dance team. We have a home for our Kids Choir, for high school students to visit. We have a home for our dozens of music ensembles.”

“Here we are just after a year,” Lillian Schumacher, TU president, said.

Major gifts and pledge commitments from individuals, organizations and foundations, along with gifts from donors, assisted TU in raising $3.8 million of the $4 million goal, she said.

Schumacher said a major “thank you” is owed to Frank Murphy, who is a member of the Tiffin University Board of Trustees and gave a $4 million matching gift.

“Without him, we would not be standing here,” she said. “I am so proud to be able to offer this building to our students so they can be the best they possibly can be.”

“This is the next chapter,” he said. “I accept the challenge to grow out of the building.”