Among my most vivid memories of the auditorium are visions of the anticipated, if not dreaded, student recitals. As a requirement of taking music lessons, students had to perform two selections in front of faculty, peers, and any campus community member who happened to be interested (not many of those). It was a great tool to show progress as well as to discourage procrastination for the jury at semester’s end. I must say, I enjoyed the recitals much more as an audience member than as a performer; though watching had its challenges.
From uncomfortable seats in the auditorium we could see future stars shining on stage. We tried to offer bright smiles of encouragement, but the setting sun was shining in our faces. The recitals were held at 4:30 p.m., perfectly timed to catch the glaring rays streaming through the bare windows, forcing our smiles into grimacing expressions of discomfort. It is a wonder that none of the performers left the stage in tears at one look of this daunting audience. The sunlight was such a nuisance that between student performers, faculty and students alike would indiscreetly move a few seats to the left or right, or even as much as entire row altogether, to escape permanent damage to our retinas. This mad dash when the performance stopped became a game of musical chairs and the winner would keep their sight until the next recital.
Thankfully, among the auditorium upgrades are the introduction of window shutters. Fully adjustable, they will elegantly block those intruding sunbeams from distracting the audience’s attention away from the stage and its most deserving performers. It seems more cost effective and environmentally friendly to install these shutters than to issue sunglasses to patrons at the door.