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UNI School of Music celebrates 50 years at Russell Hall

May 4, 2012

John Vallentine, director, UNI School of Music, 319-273-2024,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa School of Music is celebrating 50 years of making music in Russell Hall.

The original dedication ceremony for the building was held on May 6, 1962. It featured a performance by the Symphony Orchestra and the A Cappella Choir with the cantata "Blind with Rainbows," with lyrics by English faculty member James Hearst and music by faculty member William Latham. Also included in the ceremony was a march written by Edward Kurtz, former head of the Department of Music.

While the excellence in music education has been consistent since the doors first opened, Russell Hall has undergone a major transformation in recent years. In 2008, the newly renovated $10.2 million home to the School of Music reopened its doors. New features included a chamber music hall, jazz studio, an instrument repair room, two new classrooms and a music technology laboratory. Renovated features included updated studios, classrooms and practice rooms. Students at UNI continue to call the hall 'the music building,' as it was known back in the '60s.

"Russell Hall has been an important home to our classes, applied lessons, performances, workshops, master classes, rehearsals and more," noted John Vallentine, director of the School of Music. "As we look back into the history of making music at UNI, the building has allowed our students and faculty to flourish.  It is now a state-of-the art facility, allowing students to learn and perform great music."

Additionally, the next spotlight series will be the "120th Anniversary Spotlight Series: Celebrating the 120th Anniversary of the UNI School of Music." For more information, contact Vallentine at 319-273-2024 or