School of Music celebrates grand opening of Sinquefield Music Center facility

With the completion of the Sinquefield Music Center, MU plans to become a new front runner in regard to music.
Chancellor Cartwright addresses the crowd as they prepare to see the new Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Music Center. | Photo by Staff Photographer Michelle Gutierrez

The MU School of Music unveiled the new Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Music Center Saturday, Feb. 1, a building anticipated by the school since 2015. With the new building, the school hopes to put a new spotlight on MU as an epicenter for music.

Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield gave the school of music $10 million in 2015 for a new music center, a building that could concentrate the school of music into two buildings instead of scattering it across five.

The building officially opened on Saturday, Feb. 1 with a large number of MU faculty, students, alumni and surrounding community members in attendance.

Jeanne Sinquefield, a philanthropist and benefactor to the building, was among the speakers at the opening and played a crucial role in the development of the school of music to what it is today. As of the present, Jeanne and her husband have donated about $17 million to the school. The Sinquefields have given so much because of Jeanne’s unique passion for music composition.

“The joy of life is in music,” Sinquefield said. “It’s magical when you sit there and you realize this piece of music wouldn’t have been written.”

Julia Gaines, director of the School of Music, was noticeably excited about the five-year project coming to a completion. She worked with the design and construction teams throughout the process to make sure the new facilities would be able to make a real difference to the students and faculty.

“It’s a total game-changer,” Gaines said in her speech. “Now we’ve taken away the barriers for [the students] to soar.”

Gaines wanted to emphasize how thrilled she was for the students and faculty to finally have a consolidated and up to date school of music.

“I’m just really excited for our students to be in these two primary spaces, they just never existed,” Gaines said. “I mean it’s like a chemist walking into a lab for the first time seeing the right sized beakers and the protective gear. It’s that kind of excitement.”

Excitement over the new building has been seen all around. Not only does it reside in the faculty, but Gaines noticed a growing passion for the building amongst the students.

“The students are acting differently … They’re coming in way more professional; way better behaved,” Gaines said. “Because they’re in an environment that respects them, so they are respecting the environment.”

The new music center, which as of the start of the spring 2020 semester is in full use, includes 26 practice rooms, 13 music lab tech stations and 6,000 sq ft available for large ensemble rehearsals; a major upgrade from the previous one building and scattered rooms.

Cole Barton, a current freshman at the School of Music, was thrilled to be a part of the inaugural group of students to use the new building.

“I love [The Sinquefield Music Center],” Barton said. “Especially the practice rooms. With the old fine arts building, there were always times where I was afraid I wasn’t going to get a practice room.”

Not only did Barton show enthusiasm for the newer facilities, but he very much appreciated how consolidated the School of Music is now.

“It’s so much better,” Barton said. “ It’s nice to not have to run around … It’s here or it’s the other building.”

MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright also showed his support at the event and was excited to see this latest expansion of the School of Music.

“It’s a phenomenal space that allows us to recognize the tremendous people that we have,” Chancellor Cartwright said. “We are now starting to be seen as that sort of Mecca for [musical] composition.”

Edited by Alex Fulton |

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