By Colleen Meosky

Credit: Kidney Architects

This March, the Williamsville Central School District broke ground on East’s new music wing. Active planning for the project began in 2018, and the music department expects to welcome all chorus and orchestra students into their newly renovated spaces by September 2021. Additionally, the band room will be renovated next summer. Here’s what Dr. Shewan and Ms. Reilly, soon-to-be residents of this beautiful music wing, had to say about this $7.1 million project:

The Auditorium

The Aud is getting a full makeover. It will have all new equipment and new furnishings: riggings, curtain poles, lights, stage curtains, soundboards and lightboards, speakers, seats, carpets, and acoustical treatments for the walls.

The Band Room

The wall separating the current band room from the drama room will be taken down. This will greatly expand the space to accommodate both the jazz ensemble and concert band/wind ensemble set ups at once, making it well worth the extra wait. When asked about this, Dr. Shewan said, “It’s gonna be HUGE!”

The Choral Room

The current choral room is becoming a Music Theory classroom while choral students will be moving to a new addition. The music wing hallway is expanding outwards towards the athletic fields to lead into the new orchestra and choral rooms. There will also be an access door off of Student Street with a new corridor, which will take you there.

The Orchestra Room

Perhaps the most major improvement, orchestra will now actually have their own room to play in! That’s right, orchestra rehearsals will no longer take place on the stage, outside of concerts. Regarding this, Doc said, “We’re gonna have real space.” There will also be practice rooms for all three subjects.

According to the project proposal released prior to the district vote in December 2018, East’s current music wing is 5,968 square feet. When the renovations are complete, it will be 14,460 square feet, which is an increase of 243%. However, there is no expectation that this will increase open enrollment to East for students within the district since North and South are also receiving major renovations of their music spaces. “They’re all getting the same thing. Very equitable,” says Dr. Shewan. On the other hand, it is likely and expected that this project will highly encourage younger students to continue their musical education.

Credit: Kideney Architects Feb. 5, 2019

Music wing students should be excited for tremendous improvements. With more space, there will be much less clutter and no more races for a good spot to set up an instrument. Dr. Shewan assures, “You won’t be tripping over percussion instruments.” He also says it will be “aesthetically and acoustically better.” Ms. Reilly is looking forward to the new stage lighting and having a chorus room where she will be able to see all of her students without anything obstructing her view. She shared that the windows will be made to look like keys on a keyboard. “You’ll know it’s the music wing when you look at it,” she said. Doc stated the two things he’s most excited for: being able to have one different setup for jazz ensemble and another for concert band/wind ensemble, and then, of course, for the designated areas for band, orchestra, and chorus. “We won’t be playing musical rooms,” he joked. 

The music department is very thankful for the new wing. “We are extremely appreciative to the district that they did this project…Exceedingly grateful to the district and the taxpayers for this project,” Dr. Shewan said.

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