“Way up in the cloud, see there.” “Nice sails.” “The latest in women’s bathroom management.” These were just a few of the comments I overheard walking through the Stanford University Bing Concert Hall on a recent Friday night.
Months ago, I had toured the project site of the concert hall. Major structures were in place at the time, but the significant elements of the performance space had yet to be completed. During a private concert hosted by Peter Bing and Stanford University for the design team, the hall was transformed in my eyes from dusty project site to world class performance space.
The eclectic program included opening song God Bless America performed by a member of the design team from Cupertino Electric. Next up Stanford’s a cappella group Talisman with a set inspired by the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. The first instruments performing in the space included a piano and violin sonata duet by Stanford faculty members. A short intermission was followed by a vocal and piano duet. The evening wrapped up with the energetic styling’s of Mariachi Cardenal de Stanford.
Prior to the performances, audience members were permitted to walk on the floor of the stage, admiring the soaring center ceiling (the cloud) and sloping side panels (the sails). You could even wander around to the various entrances testing out the best stage vantage points. There isn’t a bad one.
Bringing this project together clearly took the effort of hundreds of people, as showcased at the concert. The entire team designers, contractors, donors, and university staff were represented. In the next few months before Michael Tilson-Thompson performs on opening night in January, the hall will get finishing touches. Just the little things left to do to make the experience that much more on-note.