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Take a look! Bergendoff Hall transformed

The $11.2 million transformation of Bergendoff Hall is complete. Students and faculty are taking advantage of the new and updated spaces, including Larson Hall, the piano lab, ensemble rehearsal hall, practice rooms, Hamann Concert Hall and more. 

“I’ve seen this building prior to the renovations and now post renovations,” said John Flannery  ’24, piano performance and music composition double major. “The updated environment has continued to foster the incredible camaraderie that we have here in the music department. 

“Even if it meant some turmoil over the past couple of years with construction, wings shut down … it’s all worth it in the end. These renovations have been incredible for the students.”

“Even if it meant some turmoil over the past couple of years with construction, wings shut down … it’s all worth it in the end."

– John Flannery '24

In the spring of 2013, President Steve Bahls hosted faculty members from music, art history and theatre at the Dahl President’s Home to talk about renovating Bergendoff Hall. At this meeting, a longtime professor reminded everyone that Bergendoff improvements had been discussed every year he had been at Augustana, and he believed it was unlikely that the college would actually ever get it done.

President Bahls promised action that night and appointed a task force, led by Kent Barnds, executive vice president of external relations. Improvements began soon after but a $1 million challenge from Julie Hamann  ’82 Elliott a few years later is what truly kick-started the renovation. That was followed by a surprise gift of $2 million from an anonymous donor in 2021. Both were key in completing the project.

“On Christmas Eve, my father often would preach about promises made and promises kept,” Barnds said. “This project, despite how long it took, is a wonderful example of a promise made and kept.”

During Homecoming and Family Weekend, nearly 150 people attended a rededication celebration for Bergendoff, which featured the Augustana Choir performing "By the Mighty Mississippi" in the newly renovated Larson Hall. Students then led group tours and shared what the changes meant to them.

Moira Baggot '26, a philosophy and public health double major, plays cello in the Augustana Symphony Orchestra. She especially appreciates Bergendoff's new practice rooms and study rooms.

"Before, it was hard to find the time to take my cello to Bergendoff or the other practice rooms in Andreen to practice," Baggot said. "I was usually stuck practicing quietly in my dorm room. Now that I can leave my cello in Bergendoff and there are designated practice rooms, I don't have to schedule a time to practice! I can just show up and practice for however long I need. I also have a space to practice with piano for things like music juries. It's amazing!"

Renovation highlights

Choir Rehearsal Room
This room represents one of two identical choir rehearsal rooms, one for the Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble and one for the Concert Chorale. Augustana has three choral ensembles, each with its own dedicated rehearsal room. Each of the two identical rooms were named in honor of the first and second directors of the Augustana Choir — Dr. Henry Veld and Don Morrison.

Ensemble Rehearsal Room
Three instrumental ensembles rehearse in this room: the Augustana Symphonic Band, Augustana Concert Band and Augustana Symphony Orchestra. The room also doubles as a classroom.

Hamann Concert Hall

Hamann Concert Hall

Hamann Concert Hall
This two-and-a-half story, intimate recital hall is located in the backstage of the old Potter Theatre. The acoustically excellent hall provides students with a state-of-the-art space to perform, rehearse and learn. In addition to recitals, this space also accommodates masterclasses with visiting artists and studio classes, and serves as the perfect location for audition recordings.

Jazz Ensemble Room 
Formerly the band rehearsal room and then the Black Box Theatre, this room now hosts daily rehearsals for Augustana's jazz program. The room boasts updated technology and acoustic enhancements. The room also is used for chamber rehearsals.

Larson Hall
Since Bergendoff Hall’s completion in 1959, the Augustana Choir has called Larson Hall its home. The stunning $180,000 renovation of Larson Hall, funded through the Hurty Family Challenge, provided acoustic and aesthetic enhancements to match the high artistic standards of the Augustana Choir. Larson Hall is one of the renovation’s marquee projects.

Music Education Suite 
More than half of Augustana’s music majors are music education majors. The program is one of the college’s strongest, with a 100% placement rate for majors who pursue jobs in the music education field. The new music education suite includes offices for music education faculty and a dedicated classroom. The classroom eliminates the need to constantly move teaching equipment between different rooms.

Student Lounge

Student Lounge

Piano Lab
The lab includes 14 pianos for class piano and piano methods classes. Students majoring in music are required to pass piano proficiencies, and vocal music education students also are required to have an extensive knowledge of score reading. The room is equipped with technology that allows students to listen to the professor play through their headphones to demonstrate correct piano technique and style. 

Practice Rooms
Each practice room features both acoustic and aesthetic enhancements. New carpeting, soundproofing panels and updated doors provide a pleasant temperature-controlled space for students to hone their craft. 

Student Lounge
The Student Lounge provides students a relaxing space to sketch out a new composition, study scores or prepare for an upcoming class. The Student Lounge also includes a soundproof recording studio, which is home to the electronic music studio.

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