the lone planetarium, which closed its operation back in 1995, may get a second life now, as part of university of toronto expansion; since it sold to utoronto in 2009, many ideas floated around but this winter, a public announcement was finally made about its future: new building for history, islamic studies and music department- possibly a new chamber hall, 250-seats.
i hear much complaint that the faculty of music facilities are way out of date and that it is inadequate and that NO ONE CARES. this hurts me a bit, because when people say 'no one cares,' it seems as if people are acting 'as if (they) no longer care,' whatever the reason is.
every time i see a broken thing, trashed floor and uncared, tossed garbage at work, i am slightly disappointed. yes, we grew out of building and we are cramped. it is worn and busy but really, music can happen here and we can practice and learn here. i understand that old, worn-out tired building is difficult to care for, but if we dont, who will? and how does trashing it further help anyone anyhow?
but perhaps, with new project announced, may be people will remember that things do cost money, and things are important. and that we all chip in this together, not just current students but of the entire canadian community- through taxes, education in music, belief in public education etc. as simple as not leaving garbage on the lounge table, damaging library properties, taking a thing or two home...
another thing i hear frequently is that all projects move too slow. this is true and not true. with undergraduate program consisting of mostly 18-22 years olds, couple years is a long time period (if you are 20, a 4-years project would be 20% of their life so far!) and it is easy to feel as if nothing happens and no one cares, but it's not true!
building projects in downtown toronto is slow and expensive- i do not remember any significant major projects that finished on time+budget in last 20 years. and for st. george campus budget, i doubt music prog is a hot investment project (compare to info tech or even world-ranked medieval studies dept), which means it takes much more red-tapes to get through. im not saying we should be 'grateful' for what we get, but we must not forget that such projects move slow and that it takes time and tireless efforts of many many people. we must stay consistent in our opinion and support for such project to actually start, and then to completion.
faculty of music was built in 1962 and school was much smaller. just to put it in perspective, 1954, master's prog was introduced and only in 1961, musbac prog became a 4 year prog. now we have musbac, masters, docotoral and perf dip + opera school. we did outgrow the building. and we produced many fine artists, educators, and individuals. yes, most importantly, individuals who hopefully gained a life-long sight to importance of humanity studies, and the way to express and understand self/others through sound. people who has been enriched by the some of the best of the western civilization and more, people who can sing when their hearts are full.
just putting timeline in perspective,
-ROM second expansion with lee-chin crystal took 2003-2007 (this project had many extended deadlines), as part of 250-million expansion (cost of crystal itself hovers around 135-million)
-AGO expansion ('transformation AGO') with frank gehry initially had 195-million plans, started in 2004, ended year behind initial deadline (2008), it cost 276-million at the end.
-conservatory construction took place 2001-2009, with construction cost of 110-million
though, on wiki entry, foot note 15 says the project was really conceived way back in 1991; the URL isnt working but i wont doubt it goes back longer than people may remember.
so though expensive, and always behind schedule, such projects can become reality. just like chipping away on instruments every day. if practiced right, it will improve. this is not the time to be disheartened. this is the time to be couragious.
i wonder how the next few years will turn out for us, at the music faculty. but one thing is for sure- the things we get to explore in this tattered building, often enable us to see beyond the daily grind. how lucky are we.