Renovated for our large ensemble rehearsals, Esber Rehearsal Hall now holds classes like band and orchestra, in addition to courses such as music methods and conducting. During the evening and weekends the space is used for non-degree recitals, masterclasses, and even the occasional big band swing dance.
Built in 1963, the hall was home for the Department of Music's student recitals. A Holtkamp organ, Opus 1793 , a central fixture of Esber Recital Hall, was dedicated on June 15, 1963. The organ was a gift of the Penn State alumni class of 1938 in honor of the class's 25th reunion. The 400-seat hall hosted thousands of concerts and recitals open to the students and community members. W.E. Esber, owner of W.E. Esber Rugs in State College, also loved Austrian Bösendorfer pianos, so much so, that he gifted two Bösendorfer pianos to the School of Music. To honor his brother, George, Mr. Esber provided funding for improvents to the space in the late 90's, giving the 30 year old hall a new name. In 2016, the Esber family once again honored their father's commitment to the school by providing funding for the rehearsal hall upgrades. The Holtkamp organ was purchased by a local church in 2018 and relocated.
Today, Esber Rehearsal Hall is used heavily seven days a week. The space has a sprung floor, acoustic panels on the walls, and an acoustic curtain which improves the sounds of the 1963 cement block room. An adjoining space was also built to accomodate storage for our ever growing collection of percussion instruments. The hall has a large projector screen which is used for instructional purposes as well as Zoom calls with composers and artists during masterclasses and rehearsals. The Bösendorfer piano with extended keyboard, a gift of Mr. Esber, remains in the room for rehearsals and performances.
From old to new: the transformation of space for improved music making.
Penn State's Esber Rehearsal Hall provides leading-edge technology and flexible acoustics to students for rehearsals, performances, lectures, and classes.