On the Road at Oberlin College

The Oberlin adventure began in front of Finney Chapel, as Dee spoke with the college's Danforth Professor of History, Geoffrey Blodgett, about the city's, the college's, and the chapel's background. Finney Chapel is just one of the five buildings around the Oberlin campus designed in the early 20th century by nationally-known architect Cass Gilbert. Gilbert decided to echo the Italian Renaissance style, and terra-cotta tiled roof of the nearby Warner Gymnasium, in order to maintain a cohesive look for the campus.

Inside the chapel, Gilbert left the acoustic issues to craftsmen who were at something of a loss when it came to designing a space for multi-purpose use, and the result was a less than satisfactory sound design. Those issues were addressed with sound improvements over several decades, particularly in the 1980's, and now the Chapel is a desired performance space for everyone from lecturers, to percussion ensembles, to string quartets. During the May 11th visit, Dee spoke with members of the Enesco String Quartet, which grew out of Oberlin's Conservatory program, and they described the project that brought them together-an outreach tour that took them to North Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. With one of their conservatory mentors, Assistant Professor of Conducting, Tim Weiss, looking on, they also played live in Finney Chapel, to demonstrate the hall's warm and resonant sound.

Our traveling show moved on from there to Oberlin's Allen Memorial Art Museum, another building designed by Cass Gilbert. Professor Geoffrey Blodgett joined us in AMAM's Fountain Courtyard, to share more details of Gilbert's life and design philosophy.

He discussed the photography show in the adjacent John Stern gallery called, "Framed and Shot: Photographs from the Allen Memorial Art Museum."

The visit ended with a tour of the student-curated exhibition "An Art Reborn: Modern Japanese Prints." Charles Mason, the AMAM's curator of Asian Art selected senior Adrianna Del Collo to design the display of 19th and 20th century Japanese printmakers, and write the accompanying histories.

The "Around Noon" staff got a great education during an afternoon at Oberlin College, and they'll share some of what they learned this Friday, May 19th, as they broadcast the special, "Around Noon" on the Road at Oberlin, beginning at 12pm on 90.3 WCPN, 90.3.

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