News from the Chair: The Wall of Fame

A poster's life: brilliant but brief. For a few short weeks it is a focus of hope, trepidation, identity. "I'm in that group, you should come to our performance." "That looks amazing — let's go." Then it is gone, torn down to make way for the next one, preserved only in scrapbooks or the occasional souvenir frame. Once so full of promise, invested with such high emotion, the poster vanishes as if it never existed.

When I became music department chair last year and was faced with an office of blank two-story walls, I started taping up our event posters. At first I was just desperate for some color, but as one row became two, then three, and then a vertiginous four, the collection became more than just free wallpaper. The images began to speak to me — or maybe sing — of people, places, performances, lectures, and compositions, making a wildly colorful polyphony out of our diverse events. Look at the photo and you will see orchestra and chamber music, new music and baroque music, band music and jazz, klezmer, rock-n-roll, Chopin, African music and dance, and much, much more. Rescued from oblivion, these images pulse with life, calling to mind all the musical and intellectual pleasure I gained from attending so many of these events.

Always remarked upon by visitors, my impromptu exhibit gives some sense of the richness and talent of this remarkable department. Last year was not unusual; between them, my colleagues, their students, our guests, and our stellar office staff produce upwards of 80 events every year, delighting and instructing both the university and the broader Charlottesville communities. We are one of the most public faces of U.Va. and provide the soundtrack to some of its most profound events. And the year ahead promises to be as spectacular as ever. Concerts, colloquia, recitals, master classes, open rehearsals, halftime shows—our calendar is very full, and I encourage you to consult our website for all the exciting details:

Indeed, as I write this the season has already begun, and the posters have started to accumulate. And so it is time to tear down my wall of fame, for however eloquently it sings to me of the season past, it has to make way for new events, new posters, and new memories. Never fear, we do keep a more permanent archive, not just of posters but of audio and video recordings, so these accomplishments are not lost. But a new mosaic awaits, and I hope you will join me in piecing it together — poster by poster, row by row.

Richard Will
Associate Professor and Chair
McIntire Department of Music


McIntire Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176