University music school prepares for move downtown

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Windsor Star/Mary Caton


Part of Vincent Georgie’s new job at the University of Windsor is to move 30 pianos downtown without hitting a sour note.

As the freshly appointed director of the University of Windsor’s School of Creative Arts (SoCA), Georgie is overseeing the program’s move out of its aging home at Wyandotte Street and Sunset Avenue into some state of the art digs that are the re-creation of the Windsor Armouries.

“This is not just moving a box of books,” Georgie said Tuesday.

A massive amount of logistics go into moving a university music program, especially given the sensitive nature of relocating a piano, let alone 30 of them.

“Dust is a serious, serious problem for a piano,” Georgie said of moving into a recent construction site. “So is climate. What’s the climate going to be on the day we move our pianos? It’s an enormous amount of work co-ordinating it all with faculty and staff.”

The school of music is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It has operated at its present location since 1969 in a nondescript, flat-roofed building that previously housed a bowling alley, laundromat and hair salon.

Like any household preparing to relocate after having been in one spot a long time, the music faculty has taken stock of all its belongings and is having a moving sale Wednesday and Thursday.

There are keyboards, pianos, turntables, cassette players, speakers, music stands, amplifiers and more, available from 12 noon to 7 p.m. each day.

“A lot of it is high-end stuff but it’s older,” noted Trevor Pittman, who handles concert production and operations for the music school.

The sale has drawn a lot of interest from alumni curious to see familiar hallways and classrooms one last time.

“It’s going to be like a mini reunion,” Georgie said. “There’s a nostalgic piece to this.”

The main move of equipment and personnel will take place in August with classes set to commence at the Armouries this September.

Approximately 500 students, faculty, and staff will relocate downtown.

The School of Creative Arts is a merger of the school of music, the school of visual arts and the film production program.

Georgie takes over as director after nine years as a marketing professor with the Odette School of Business.

“My life has been dedicated to the arts,” said Georgie, who has served as executive director of the Windsor International Film Festival since 2013 and holds a PhD in arts marketing. “Plus moving downtown is historic. To make this type of investment in creative arts in 2017 in Windsor just jumps out.”  

The university has made no public announcement about its plans for the old music building.