ARCC to celebrate grand opening of renovated music building

Anoka-Ramsey Community College will celebrate the grand opening of its renovated music building Monday, Jan. 14.

The event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. with a program starting at 4:15 p.m.

Guest speaker is Osmo Vanska, conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra.

In addition, a new composition by Melissa Bergstrom, college music department chairperson, will be premiered.

Bergstrom’s choral compositions have won national competitions, according to the Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) website.

The impetus for the music building project was an increase in music students of 198.1 percent between 2000 and 2010.

According to Mary Jacobson, director of marketing and public relations for both Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Anoka Technical College, the renovated music building will serve the expanded music programs and house all ARCC’s music courses and music faculty members.

The music building project is the second phase of a fine arts initiative designed to modernize and renew some 17,171 square feet in the 40-year-old fine arts building to enhance the quality of teaching and learning environment for music programs and courses, Jacobson said in a press release.

The completed project provides a larger and updated choir/recital classroom, an updated band room, new student collaboration spaces and a new small ensemble room, she said.

The updated choir/recital classroom has seating for 100 students, while the band room capacity is now 75 students.

A skyway connects the music building to the new visual arts center, which opened last year and contains glassblowing, photography and ceramic studios, computer labs and recital/gallery space.

Early last year, the music faculty and other ARCC staff applied for and received full accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music for its associate in fine arts in music degree program

Vanska, a native of Finland, has been the Minnesota Orchestra’s music director and conductor since September 2003.

He started his music career as a clarinetist with the Turku Philharmonic in Finland in 1971, then was principal clarinetist of the Helsinki Philharmonic in Finland’s capital city from 1977 to 1982.

He started conducting and became principal guest conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra in Finland in 1985, then chief conductor of the orchestra from 1988 to 2008. He is now the orchestra’s conductor laureate.

Prior to joining the Minnesota Orchestra, Vanska was chief conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra from 1993 to 1996 and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow from 1996 to 2002.

As a guest conductor, he has led most of the major American and European orchestras.

For more information about the ARCC music building grand opening or the associate in fine arts in music degree program, visit

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]