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A Sneak Peak into the Ruby Diamond Reopening

By: Stephanie Salvatore Email
By: Stephanie Salvatore Email

UPDATE by Stephanie Salvatore at 6 PM

It's been a staple on Florida State's campus since the 1950's, but a 2 year renovation has left the Ruby Diamond Auditorium almost unrecognizable, in a good way.

Just in time to mark the 100th anniversary of the college of music, the auditorium will officially open its doors and shine for the public to see.

"Most people who come into Ruby Diamond Auditorium today who have been there before are going to think they're in an entirely different building."

William Fredrickson performed on stage here as a student in the 80s and is now as the associate dean of the college of music.

"I think what we've been able to create is going to start to become a destination for people it really is quite thrilling," Fredrickson adds.

The entire room was gutted down to the concrete walls. What once looked more like a classroom, appears now like a world class performance hall.

Ornate lanterns and detailed murals are just some of the features of the room but some of the changes aren't visual.

One of the biggest differences audience members will notice is the acoustics, no matter where they are sitting in Ruby Diamond Auditorium, the sound quality will blow them away.

"If they witnessed events before the renovation, they will have heard a very different sound. Now we have much heavier surface mass on the walls, it's plaster instead of dry wall before the room is a little taller so you have greater volume for a better reverberance," says acoustics consultant David Greenberg.

And since sound is the name of the game in the college of Music, some say this renovation was right on key.

Many people wonder if the name of the auditorium has any significance and it actually does. Ruby Diamond attended FSU and graduated back in 1905. She was a lifelong citizen of Tallahassee and a longtime supporter of FSU.
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Tallahassee, Florida ––

It's been a staple at Florida State for more than 50 years and now after being closed for two years, the Ruby Diamond Auditorium is back in business.

The college of music plans to give their first performance in the renovated Ruby Diamond Auditorium tonight.

The grand reopening of Ruby Diamond marks the 100th anniversary of the FSU College of Music.

An estimated 35 million dollars was budgeted for the project, which included and enlarged pit that will hold about 80 musicians, better sound quality and room for an audience of 1300.

Last Saturday the legendary B.B. King took the stage at what was the first public performance in the auditorium since 2008.

Just walking into the foyer of the new building will leave you in awe. It has marble floorings and a beautiful glass case showcasing reflections from the past.

Coming up tonight, we'll hear from people who remember the old Ruby Diamond Auditorium and get their reactions on the new look.

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FSU issued a release about the reopening of Ruby Diamond:

Soon the curtains will rise and music will fill the air once again at Ruby Diamond Auditorium now that a two-year-long renovation and expansion has transformed it from a general-purpose venue to a world-class performance hall.

On Friday, Oct. 8, beginning at 8 p.m., the 2010-2011 concert season will commence at The Florida State University with a Grand Reopening Celebration at Ruby Diamond that will also mark the FSU College of Music’s 100th anniversary.

To commemorate the historic occasion, the concert will feature the debut of highly anticipated works by four distinguished contemporary composers, performed by the FSU College of Music’s University Symphony Orchestra, Wind Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble and Combined Choirs (an assembly of more than 600 voices).

The FSU ensembles will grace the auditorium’s stage for the first time since its transformation began in 2008 and the talented students who bring them to life can’t wait, said College of Music Dean Don Gibson, who notes that the decision to include them in the debut performance was a deliberate one.

“The four newly commissioned works showcased in our Oct. 8th concert will celebrate not only the glorious rebirth and reopening of Ruby Diamond but also the beginning of our second century of musical excellence at Florida State,” Gibson said. “Our decision to feature as many students as possible in this Grand Reopening concert exemplifies how delighted we are to finally have a large performance venue appropriate to the needs of these young, developing artists.”

Those young artists will perform Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and FSU Frances Eppes Professor of Music Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Fanfare, Reminiscence and Celebration (University Symphony Orchestra); FSU alumnus and Baylor University School of Music composition Professor Scott McAllister’s XANADU (Wind Orchestra); The Jewel Within by FSU jazz trombone Assistant Professor Paul McKee (Jazz Ensemble I); and Manhattan-based Norwegian pianist and composer Ola Gjeilo’s Rays of Light (Combined Choirs).

Zwilich has a special, longstanding connection to Ruby Diamond.

“I first entered Ruby Diamond Auditorium as an FSU freshman, playing violin in the orchestra and trumpet in the band,” Zwilich said. “During my years at FSU, this was the place where I encountered so much of the repertoire, playing under Ernst von Dohnányi and Pablo Casals to name two of the most memorable conductors, and playing in everything from the Opera to the unofficial Lab Band, since at that time jazz was not yet a part of the curriculum. This was a place that profoundly affected my life, and I was deeply honored to receive this commission.”

In keeping with the momentous nature of the celebration, the Oct. 8 concert at Ruby Diamond is black tie optional.

Tickets for the event are $25 general admission ($15 for FSU students with ID) and may be purchased through the FSU College of Music Box Office, located in the lobby of Ruby Diamond. For ticket information and box office hours, please call the College of Music Box Office at (850) 645-7949 or visit the website below.


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