Smith Memorial Hall, the principal music building during my days
at University of Illinois. I spent thousands of hours in this
building, taking lessons, classes, practicing, going to
concerts, and meeting with friends.
By the time I left University of Illinois, building work was
already under way for the impressive Kraenert Center for the
Performing Arts, which I have visited and attended concerts in,
but was just a big hole in the ground when I left. Shortly after
that, the new music school and library was put up across the
street from Kraenert. It's now already considered an old
building that needs replacing. However, its architecture is
plain, like an office building, and without any of the character
that Smith Hall has. Smith is still used for its recital hall
and some music school classes.
This is the main entrance, although ninety percent of the time I
entered through the door to the right in this picture, sometimes
through the one to the right, or the ones at either side of the
back of the building, and least often through these doors.
The recital hall in Smith Memorial Hall, as seen looking down on
the stage from the balcony.
I still dream about this place at night. Several of my student
compositions were premiered here, and I performed on it many
times. As reported in the story, I counted up to 35 concerts a
semester I attended in my early years of counting them. Almost
all were here.