Call it a grand re-opening of sorts. After all the fanfare and grand opening celebrations in October 2019, the Hamel Music Center went dark with the rest of the world in March 2020. Performances were canceled; faculty and students were left wondering what came next; nobody was certain when in-person performances would return—all common refrains in the performing arts lately.

But the bright, twinkling lights of the copper chandelier hanging in the Hamel Music Center lobby remained on throughout the pandemic, a symbolic beacon of hope that one day music would return to this space. And to be fair, performances did continue at the School of Music with over 130 live streams programmed over the course of two semesters.

As activities at UW-Madison inch closer and closer to “normal” this fall, music is making a triumphant return to performance halls that many have not experienced yet. In-person activity has resumed on campus, and the School of Music has taken this opportunity to program recitals and concerts by students, faculty, and guest artists, all while following current campus health and safety guidelines.

So while there may be no ribbon cuttings or ceremonies this time around, having the chance to re-open and experience music in a state-of-the-art performance space will always feel “grand” in a certain way.

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