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16 October 2006

JSU Music on the Move

The following editorial from the Anniston Star is reprinted here in its entirety.

Our hills are alive with the sound of music thanks in large part to Jacksonville State University. Whether it's through the Marching Southerners, staged musical productions, piano and vocal recitals or other ways, JSU's Department of Music enriches the lives of countless people, helping us, as Einstein suggested, live our daydreams in music.

When JSU's trustees meet this morning, they have a wonderful opportunity before them to consider. The university's music department, a jewel in the school's crown, finds itself in the enviable position of contemplating a bold new phase.

This tantalizing prospect calls for the music department to set up shop at the former Fort McClellan. The vision provides the department with many advantages. Chiefly among them is elbow room in a spacious facility and surrounding grounds for practice and performance.

For the larger community, the benefits are limited only by imagination. JSU performances could attract larger audiences due to McClellan's central location and easy access to Interstate 20. (Once the Eastern Parkway is finished, reaching McClellan will be but a short jaunt north for interstate drivers from Atlanta, Birmingham and points in between.)

McClellan already is becoming a spot for the arts, with a concert series, live theater and thoughtful movies. Imagine how a shiny JSU performance facility would enhance this reputation, as well as drawing other artistic endeavors to McClellan throughout the year.

The JSU board has quite the decision before it. Moving its vaunted music department eight miles off campus is something trustees must consider with deep and serious thought. While a McClellan site would attract more people and attention to JSU's stellar music programs, it would take the department away from the central campus. That's a step to not be taken lightly.

The question is: Keep the music department, in many ways the heart and soul of the university, close to home or share it with the larger community?

Others Columbus (Ga.) State University, for instance have created an off-campus music program and discovered vast benefits to the move. JSU and our community would surely find the same benefits.

It's a good thing the JSU trustees have time to contemplate a similar venture. The possibilities at McClellan are so attractive worthy of helping us live out our daydreams.

See story at The Anniston Star's website: www.annistonstar.com .

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