$3M donated for fine arts programs

By Katie Valentine, Staff Writer

The Marriott Family Foundations donated $3 million to the College of Fine Arts for scholarships in the School of Music, student productions at Kingsbury Hall and the Kingsbury Hall professional season.

The Richard E. and Nancy P. Marriott Foundation, the Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation and the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation made the donation together, the U announced Tuesday.

The School of Music is a significant part of the College of Fine Arts and will receive $1.25 million of the donation, said Robert Walzel, chair of the School of Music. The money will be used for scholarships and fellowships for students, he said.

“This wonderful gift adds to the strength of the School of Music and Kingsbury Hall, institutions that have a long and proud history of working together to nurture students and bring the arts to the entire community,” said Raymond Tymas-Jones, dean of College of Fine Arts, in a press release.

The auditorium in Kingsbury Hall has been named the Nancy Peery Marriott Auditorium in recognition of the donation.

“The key to the university’s success has always been the generosity of our extraordinary benefactors, such as the Marriott family,” said U President Michael Young in a statement Tuesday. “As a gift that keeps on giving, this endowment fund will strengthen the very foundation of our institution and provide the sure footing from which we will leap into greatness.”

Nancy Marriott graduated from the U with a degree in education and also studied music and voice. She has performed throughout the United States, Austria and the Middle East.

Kingsbury Hall hosts more than 180 performances each year. It hosts student performances in opera, musical theater, jazz, and other music, theatre and dance performances. The performance hall also hosts a professional season each year, such as the “Ain’t Misbehavin'” touring Broadway musical that will feature former American Idol star Ruben Studdard and runs from Feb. 17 to Feb. 22.

“This substantial gift will enhance and grow our mission, which includes providing students with numerous opportunities to perform on a professional stage and collaborate with established artists and professional crews,” said Greg Geilmann, director of Kingsbury Hall, in a statement.

Many of the operas and operettas performed by the Opera Ensemble are performed in small chamber rooms in David Gardner Hall, said Matthew Kuehnl, a graduate student in music,

“Performing in Kingsbury, it’s a much bigger space and it gives you a more professional feeling,” he said.

Kuehnl performed in “Candide,” an operetta by Leonard Bernstein, last year in Kingsbury Hall.

Playing at Kingsbury Hall is a good chance for students to perform in a professional environment, Kuehnl said, because that is where they will be performing after they graduate.

The School of Music is located in David Gardner Hall, next to Kingsbury Hall. The school has many different musical groups including the University of Utah Singers, A Capella Choir, Utah Philharmonia Choir, University Symphony, Marching Band and the Lyric Opera Ensemble, among other groups.

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