Catherine residents and music department in harmony

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Catherine Hall, located on the east side of campus, was home to offices and departments such as the drama costume shop and the yearbook but was renovated to accommodate freshman girls for the 2021-22 school year. The hall is still home to the music department, which resides on the first floor. 

According to Kristin Van Cleve, the director of the music department, they used to be located in Carpenter Hall but were moved to Catherine Hall when the former was demolished. 

“The Music Department has adapted fairly well to be located in a building that is also a student dormitory,” said Cleve. “Since this is just our second semester in this new configuration, we are still working out how to deal with certain challenges.” 

Some of the main issues she described included making the most of the space and improving sound quality.  

“We need to install more soundproofing materials in the rooms to reduce the amount of sound that bleeds over from one room to the next while students are practicing and during music lessons,” Cleve said.

When asked about the change, Marie Depew, a junior English major and music student, said, “It’s a bit inconvenient being all the way across campus for [practice] . . . but as for having lessons or practice rooms, I think it’s fine.”

Freshman biology major and pianist Olivia Conger agreed. “It’s set up nicely,” she said. “I like all the classrooms and how they are. The only thing is for someone who doesn’t live in Catherine, [they] have a very far walk to get there.” 

But how is this change affecting Catherine residents? “I think it’s [a] positive [change],” said Lydia O’Keefe, a freshman politics major. “I think it’s cool that they still have the music hall [and] get to use it for something other than dorms.” 

Another Catherine resident, freshman biochemistry major Lei-Lei Kim, also agreed. “Sometimes I get back from doing homework and hear people playing music; it’s so pretty to listen to.”

However, Conger said she had some concerns. “It is very convenient for everything to be right there,” Conger said. “I live on the side of the hallway that is right next to it. But sometimes when it’s late, [the music] can be a little distracting.” 

She also feels that there is no separation between work and relaxation because she lives in Catherine. “My dorm doesn’t always necessarily feel like downtime,” she said. “I’ll still run into teachers in my pajamas, and I still have to make sure [I’m presentable]. The total relief you feel at your dorm [is taken away].”

O’Keefe echoed similar sentiments. “Random groups will walk through the dorms because there’s a practice room right by the laundry. It’ll be strangers from outside just walking down the hall. [It’s] a little weird.”

Besides that, both Kim and O’Keefe said there’s a clear division between the music department side of Catherine and the dorms. 

The music department was not the only one forced to relocate. The drama department’s costume shop, previously located on Catherine’s second floor, was moved to Jerome’s basement in the fall of 2021. 

“There are pluses and minuses,” Susan Cox, the head of the costume shop, said of the move. 

According to Cox, the costume shop had more space in Catherine than Jerome, and their costume stock is located in the basement of Catherine. “Before, it was upstairs. We were on the second floor, so all we had to do was walk up a flight of stairs. Now our stock is in the basement of Catherine. And it’s dark, and sometimes the ventilation is a problem.” Despite this, Cox believes they’ll figure it out. 

But what does the upcoming school year have in store for Catherine Hall? Betty Perretta, the director of housing operations, said, “I can officially say that Catherine Hall will remain a female hall for next year.”

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