Monday, October 10, 2011

Musical Legacies

Music at the University of Western Ontario has followed a unique and interesting past; evolving into a Faculty in 1968; today it is one of the top centres of musical excellence in Canada.

Early beginnings were in 1903 with the formation of the Conservatory of London. The institute of Musical Art was opened in 1919 to teach “the art and science of music, voice, culture, and expression.” The institute operated under the auspices of the University of Toronto and Toronto Conservatory.

Music classes were offered by Western in 1934 which is the same year that the Institute was incorporated as the Western Conservatory of Music. The Sunday Nine O’clock Series was launched the following year, generating interest in music education at the university.

The principal of the four-year-old Western Ontario Conservatory of Music was appointed Director of Music for the University in year 1938. When the McIntosh Gallery opened in 1942, the conservatory offices were moved into the building. During the 1943-44 academic years, 12 students were allowed to take a music course for academic credit.

In 1948, with financial assistance from the A.E. Silverwood Foundation, the Music Teachers' College was established to provide a level of professional training at the University of Western Ontario.

Three levels of instruction were established; secondary level instruction at Western Conservatory, Music Teacher’s College at the collegiate level, and the Department of Music in University College.

Music continued at the McIntosh Gallery, but space became increasingly cramped. Nine years later, in 1957 the Silverwood Foundation presented the residence and grounds  to the University of Western Ontario, as a permanent home for the Music College in memory of A. E. Silverwood, who was governor of the University from 1930-1954.

In 1957  the Music Teacher’s College relocated to “Goodholme” as the residence was known.
In 1961 the name of the college was changed to College of Music when it became part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Even today the building is still known as the “Silverwood Block.”

Seven years later on July 1st 1968, as a result of the re-organization of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the College of Music became a separate facility. In 1971, the construction of the Music Building on campus was completed.Following a generous donation from Dr. Donald Wright in October of 2002 the Faculty of Music was renamed the Don Wright Faculty of Music.

With more than 500 undergraduate students, 110 graduate students and more than 100 teachers, the Faculty is small enough to foster the development of close-working relationships with professors and colleagues, yet large enough to support a full symphony orchestra, fully staged opera and musical theatre productions, prize-winning choirs and a top-notch wind band program.  Today UWO produces more than 300 concerts each year, most of which are free and open to the public.

The Don Wright Faculty of Music also houses the world renowned Piano Technical program which migrated from George Brown College in Toronto during the mid to late 1980’s.

Goodholme is situated within King's University College, a sprawling, park-like campus at the University of Western Ontario. Together with several other historic buildings, including St. Peters Seminary, it contributes to the serene atmosphere of the property. 

Goodholme is a fine example of the Tudor Revival style of architecture executed on a large residential scale. Characteristic of this style, the house features steeply-pitched rooflines and tall windows. It is composed of stone, half-timbering and stucco. Other elements that typify the Tudor Revival style include the multi-paned windows, the decorative carvings on the projecting window bays and the dormer windows on the façade and all elevations. Also of note is the recessed entry on the façade, which features a projecting stone arcade and covered driveway.

Here is a photo album of how Goodholme looks today. 

 Silverwood Block

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