Updated Statement: Convocation Hall renovation and Memorial Organ

    By Lesley Cormack on November 8, 2019

    The Arts Building’s Convocation Hall is a beloved landmark for members of the university past and present, and our hope is that it will continue to be for generations to come. Originally built in 1915 and last renovated in the 1970’s, our historic concert hall, is showing its age and is in great need of renovation and restoration. This space should continue to simultaneously serve as a vibrant performance space and a significant laboratory for our music students. To ensure that it does, the Faculty of Arts has embarked on a fundraising campaign to raise the $12 million necessary to renovate, bringing the space up to the safety standards of today. Because the hall’s current organ is attached to the structure of the building, it will be impacted by the renovation process.

    An organ was first installed in 1927; it was rebuilt and rededicated in 1947 as a tribute to the UAlberta staff and students who were lost during the First World War. It was replaced with a third organ in 1978. This is the current organ in the hall and it is attached to the north wall of the balcony.

    As part of the new renovation, we will be working with Veteran’s Affairs to move some of the Memorial Organ’s remaining pipes to a prominent place in the foyer of the Arts Building. Doing so will ensure that staff, students, and patrons alike will continue to be able to visit this important memorial.

    We need to raise funds for the complete renovation, which will involve the removal of the organ for some time. We have consulted with the architects about a possible location for a future organ. However, we need to complete the fundraising for the hall renovations before we can consider the organ. The cost of the work we would need to do with the organ would be approximately $1 -1.5 million. If a donor comes forward interested in investing in the organ specifically, we are able to open the discussion about this part of the renovation sooner.

    Convocation Hall is the primary venue for all our music students to become the musicians of the future, and the Arts Building will continue to be a space to remember those who served in battle.


    Lesley Cormack
    Dean of Arts

    If you would like to donate to the Convocation Hall renovations, visit the Convocation Hall project page.