Imagine walking into the still sparkling new “Club” level at Autzen Stadium and finding yourself in an evening jazz club with beaded table lamps on zebra-print tablecloths, hosting nearly 200 concert attendees. On June 11, 2004 this is precisely the transformation that donors and friends of the School of Music and the University of Oregon experienced to celebrate the kickoff of the school’s building renovation and expansion initiative.
Jazz pianist Joey Harrington ’01, a UO business graduate and current Detroit Lions quarterback, and Richard Smith ’83, School of Music Distinguished Alumnus and USC jazz guitar professor, performed with the Oregon Jazz Ensemble to electrify the crowd of supporters during the evening’s concert.
Harrington noted that one of the bonuses about his decision to attend the University of Oregon was the School of Music’s jazz studies program and the opportunity to study with jazz pianist Gary Versace-while still playing football and pursuing a business degree.
“I think that music is an important part of everyone’s lives,”
said Harrington. “The UO School of Music does a great job of providing that experience for students. Even though I wasn’t a music major, they allowed me the opportunity to take classes and lessons. The School of Music offers something for every student. They are very open and welcoming.”
Thoughtful gifts from alumni and friends of the School of Music are creating a legacy that will transform the lives of scores of future generations of students, performers, and music educators. To date, $2.5 million, or one-third of the funds required from private sources, has been raised for the building project, with the impact of every gift doubled due to legislative bonding from the State of Oregon for a one-to-one match of $7.6 million for the building expansion.