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Mount de Chantal Conservatory Construction Nearing Completion

WHEELING, WV, September 1, 2013- Construction is well underway at Wheeling Jesuit University on the Mount de Chantal Conservatory of Music, which is set to open late this fall within the university's Center for Educational Technologies building.

The facility will provide WJU Students with a home for musical instruction, practice, and performance, and continue the legacy of the Sisters of the Visitation and Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy, which for decades was renowned for its music instruction.

The conservatory will include a 112-seat recital hall, providing an ideal setting for intimate concerts and theatrical productions, lectures and recitals, yet be easily convertible for classroom use. Just outside the recital hall is a parlor, where students can relax between classes and recital hall guests can linger before or after a performance. The university will display art, photographs, furniture, archival materials, and other Mount de Chantal items in the Sisters of the Visitation Gallery, which visitors will enter through the Mount's front door, donated by the Vistation Sisters. An elegant lobby, and offices and practice areas, complete the space.

In its design, the conservatory will feature original Mount de Chantal tin ceiling, chandeliers, fleur-de-lis stair treads and decorative hardware. The 800-pound bell, which hung hidden in a tower for generations, will be mounted outside the building so that visitors can see and touch it.

Many of the items to be displayed were donated by the Visitation Sisters, who also made a leadership gift to Wheeling Jesuit for the conservatory and established the Mount de Chantal Music Scholarship fund. WJU recently awarded the first scholarship to incoming freshman Samantha Herrington of Bethel Park, Pa.

Wheeling Jesuit also has received support for the conservatory from the Albert Schenk III and Kathleen H. Schenk Charitable Trust, an anonymous local foundation and many friends and alumnae of Mount de Chantal and Wheeling Jesuit University. A total of $1 million has been committed to date.

In addition to making possible the facility's construction, as well as the acquisition and restoration of antiques and artwork, this support has enabled the university to add a director of instrumental music and university bands. Named to that position in April was James Gourlay, who helped the university build and develop its symphonic band over the past two years. The WJU Symphonic Band performs on campus regularly with the River City Brass, also directed by Gourlay.

In addition to the symphonic band, the university's students participate in the WJU Pep Band, which entertains spectators at athletic events, and four choirs that sing at masses and perform on and off campus

For more information contact Kathryn Kelly at 304-243-8160.

Alumnae of Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy, from left, Virginia Giustini, Elaine Milton, Jennifer Hornyak and Kathryn Kelly, browse through the senior class composite photos from their alma mater. The photos, along with other items from "the Mount," were donated by the Sisters of the Visitation to Wheeling Jesuit University for use in the music spaces that the university will open late this fall.


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