IC Pianogate: Words of Support From Alumni

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It’s a new day and finals week is proceeding as planned, but I’m sure that the Ithaca College community is still struggling. The attack on the music building facilities will have a lasting effect not so easily dismissed. Last night’s vigil did seem refreshing, but today I wanted to offer some words of support from those who still care deeply about the School of Music.

First, I wanted to share a comment from Dr. Janet Galván, professor of Music Education and Choral Performance Studies, that she posted on the vigil’s Facebook event.

Dear Students, I wanted to write to you, but Dr. J said it all so eloquently that I will simply echo his sentiments. I was conducting a concert tonight and then had to go to school, so I got the word late and could not attend the vigil. I am so glad that you came together to give one another support, assurance, and love. I agree that we need to respond with dignity and calm, and I am so impressed that you put this vigil together so quickly. I am so proud of you all – that sense of community, love of beauty, belief in the power of music, and respect for people and property has been a characteristic of IC music students for many years. I hope that you all find comfort in the knowledge that many people have been working tirelessly to restore order to the practice rooms and to allow you to continue your studies as the semester comes to a close. We all owe Dr. Woodward, Dr. Kaiser, Erik Kibelsbeck and the piano technicians a huge debt. blessings

Below are words of support from various alumni (with most recent graduates at the top). I hope that they provide you all with encouragement and demonstrate the power of our alumni base. Like the song says, we’re all in this together. …what? You know that it often feels like high school down in those hallways. At any rate, enjoy.

Margaret Flower ’09 (Voice Education/Performance)

To all of my beloved friends at Whalen:

My heart goes out to you after this horrible incident. It’s exceptionally difficult because of your finals and juries this week, but what we must keep in mind is that violence does not solve anything. You are all strong- or else you never would have picked such difficult majors! Everyone who has heard of this travesty- and word travels very fast- is heartbroken, we are all keeping you in our thoughts. But please, do not seek your own justice. You’re strong- you’re Bombers!

Elias Lauermann ’09 (Piano Education)

Dear Music Students:
May those responsible for this cowardly act be brought to justice. Until then, look up, look forward, band together, study hard and show your IC School of Music Pride. Make sure this never happens again!

Molly Mattingly ’09 (Piano Education/Theory)

Dear Whalenites,

When I heard about the vandalism of the instruments on the first floor, my reaction was probably much the same as yours. I felt pain, almost physically. We invest so much time and emotion into our instruments that when someone hurts them, it hurts us. The only conclusion I can come to is that whoever hurt so many people like this must be feeling such pain that they felt they had to somehow make everyone else understand what they are going through. Let’s hope that when they find who did it, those people get the help they need.

I am so glad that none of you were injured in this incident. That is the most important thing – this would have been far, far more tragic had the vandals chosen to express their anger in violent attacks on students themselves. Of course, it is also wonderful to hear that most of the instruments are still playable. I’m so glad you are responding by supporting each other in a positive way! That’s what the Whalen community should do. Keep the music community thriving, like you did at the vigil last night! Alumni near and far are supporting you and wishing you good luck on juries.

Noelle Drewes ’07 (Oboe Performance)

Dear Current IC Musicians,
Please know that although we have graduated and are not there in person, we will always be Ithacans at heart.  This unfortunate trauma has affected us all as well.  But it will not change the love we have for our alma mater; nothing can do that.  Don’t let them win.

Lara Supan ’07 (Vocal Jazz)

Hey IC Music! Listen, it sounds pretty sucky but…we’ve always found a way out of sticky situations. This is the time when you get to ask that really hot guy (or girl) that you’ve been talking to if you can come over to their place to practice ;). Music is the most amazing form of expression and the hell if you can’t find an out of the box way to do that. Jazz majors, ABC Cafe- get there and do jam sessions, so much better than practicing by yourself! Voice majors, you don’t need an instrument if you’ve got a pitch pipe…right? And composition majors- start composing on the tin whistle, you’ll get mucho kudos for the originality :). Keep your head up guys, I’ll be donating as soon as I can but until then go get a bubble tea and keep doing what you’re doing. Music will never be silenced.

Whitney Dorman ’06 (Oboe Education)

Dear IC Music Students and Faculty,

I was deeply saddened to hear the news of the recent vandalism at the School of Music.  I remember that as a music student I spent so much time in the music building that it began to feel like a second home to me.  I am sure that many of you feel the same way.  So for all of us, what has happened is very personal.  It’s the same feeling you would have if someone had destroyed your own home.  My heart goes out to all of you.  Stand together and you will get through this.

My thoughts are with you.

Sara Barasch ’05 (Voice Education/Performance)

My thoughts are with all the students, faculty, staff, etc. of the IC School of Music. I’m happy to hear that this incident has brought everyone together. Good luck with the rest of the semester.

Cassie Stephenson ’05 (Viola Performance)

Dear current IC Music Students,
I was so saddened to hear of the vandalism that occurred in the Whalen Center this past weekend.  We all think of that building as a home, a safe haven, a place to make music with our best friends.  Please know that the cowards who committed these acts do not have the power to take that away from us.  All my best for a strong end to the semester- stay focused on the things that matter, the rest will be resolved in due time.

Andy Dolph ’99 (Sound for Live Audiences)

The news of the vandalism really knocked me for a loop – to the point I wrote a blog post about it:

I just don’t get it.  Why would anyone do something like that.

Paul Mack Somers ’66ish (Piano Composition/Theory)

I was at IC while it was still downtown around DeWitt Park, and while the South Hill campus was being built. So I remember the opening of Ford Hall well. I remember the pride we all felt in having such a great venue and in having such large practice rooms. We could actually practice chamber music in many of them, something which had not been possible in the old ones downtown.

I was a composition student. I can still remember rehearsing my clarinet sonata in those practice rooms before its premiere. So even after all these years, it is still a personal affront to me that such anti-intellectualism should so violently intrude into what has always been a laboratory for creative and recreative activity.

Surely such rage will have left behind major clues as to the the perpetrators. Back in my days at IC there were some in the school who would make fun of the music students, but never to a degree which would lead to this. And in reality there was very little animosity. Yet this attack has all the earmarks of an “inside job” by at least two anti-art-terrorists. Who from off campus would even know about practice rooms, would bring wire cutters to destroy strings, who would know where to hide until closing time so they would be able to do such an act at leisure over night?

This seems to me from afar (I live in deep southern New Jersey) to be student-on-student violence of the worst kind.

I hope we hear soon of the capture of these vandals, and that we learn their warped reasoning.

These are but just a few of the many alumni who stand in solidarity. Many more attended the vigil “in spirit” and have been following the news from afar.

Others may not fully appreciate the emotional damage that has been done, but we stand as one community as we recover from this incident. My love goes out to all of you!

–Zack Ford ’07 (Piano Education)

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