From the Dean

February 17, 2023
Dean Mortenson
Dean Mortenson
On December 23, the School of Music experienced a second weather-related pipe burst in the last three years. This occurred during the historic "bomb cyclone" that made national news when high winds and falling temperatures disrupted many aspects of life across much of the United States during holiday travel season. Over the course of the following three weeks, multiple crews were in the building to assess the damage and put the building back in order. Miraculously, the finishing touches on restoring the building to full functionality were completed hours before the start of the spring 2023 academic semester. This involved the removal of many linear feet of drywall, both in the hallways and in teaching studios; stripping and refinishing the Jones Concert Hall stage; ripping out and replacing hallway carpeting on several floors; and countless other details to mitigate all the damage. At the same time all of this was happening, a major project to build an interior ramp was underway, making Jones Concert Hall more accessible for individuals with disabilities. This construction took place on the north side of the building and included extensive renovations of both bathrooms on that side.

Baylor facilities brought together multiple external contractors and everyone worked together so that both the scheduled and unscheduled projects could be completed. McCrary Music Building is now safer, more attractive, and better able to function for the variety of uses the School of Music must deliver within those spaces. My thanks go out to the many entities that came together to get all of this done with no disruption to the academic calendar. I also want to express my thanks to Zach Gamez (facilities manager and technical director) and Michael Jacobson (associate dean for operations), who were on site throughout the semester break advising and keeping track of all of the work being done around the building. School of Music faculty and students came in to check on offices and practice/storage areas and to lend a hand where there was need. I am so grateful to everyone who offered assistance during the critical timeframe that brought all the work to a successful conclusion.

The School of Music continues to provide our students with a wide range of offerings in the newly created Health and Wellness Program visioned, created, and led by Dr. Lesley McAllister. On January 23, Don Corley, one of the founding partners of Waco Psychological Associates, gave a presentation titled "Mental Health and the Power of Perspective" to a large and appreciative audience. On February 20 and 21, Vanessa Cornett, author of The Mindful Musician, is giving presentations on topics including managing performance anxiety and mindfulness for the performing musician. On March 20, Frank Horvat, a Toronto-based composer, will join us via Zoom so that online participants can view a documentary on mental health and then participate in a Q&A. To end the spring semester's Health and Wellness activities, on April 17 Dr. Carrie Drew, audiologist, will present on "Hearing Health for Musicians," and do a free screening for hearing loss for all interested participants.

Thank you for your interest in and passion for the Baylor University School of Music. Enjoy the many updates in the February issue of the Semper Pro Musica E-Newsletter.

Musically yours,
Gary Mortenson, Dean
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