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.

    The organ that stands in the hall today was installed during the renovation of the 1970’s. This organ was purchased to replace the Memorial Organ, which had first entered the hall in the 1920’s as a tribute to the UAlberta staff and students who were lost during the First World War. The original Memorial Organ stopped working during the Great Depression and although its pipes have remained in the hall, the instrument has been gone for much of the space’s history.

    As part of the new renovation, we are planning 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 also have a plan to place a new organ at the back of the stage of the renovated hall. Once the structural renovations are complete, we will be able to move forward with the additional fundraising needed to purchase the new organ.

    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.