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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Dedicates F. Ludwig Diehn School of Music

By Joe Garvey

Old Dominion University dedicated its F. Ludwig Diehn School of Music on Oct. 1, a development that "positions Old Dominion on the national stage, where we deserve to be," President John R. Broderick said.

"The establishment of the Diehn School of Music makes ODU part of a small but distinctive group of universities, including USC, Northwestern and Indiana, with named schools of music," he said.

Broderick added that the school, following the opening of the Barry Art Museum in 2018, "advances our strategic goal of becoming a regional leader in the arts."

The establishment of the school was made possible by a nearly $3 million gift from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation's F. Ludwig Diehn Fund.

Leigh Evans Davis, the vice president for donor engagement at the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, said Diehn's goal in establishing the fund "was to help Hampton Roads become a center for classical music and, in particular, to help ODU become the premier music school in the Commonwealth."

Kent Sandstrom, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, called the funding a "transformational gift that will enable us to enhance and extend the important work being done by ODU music faculty and students."

He said the establishment of the School of Music will increase the visibility and stature of the program and enable it to recruit more students. He noted that the School of Music is growing, bucking national trends. The school, he said, has more than 275 majors and minors, and admission applications are up more than 25% over the past year.

"Nancy (Klein, professor and chair of the School of Music) has already shared several stories with me about having parents or principals call her and saying, 'I wasn't going to recommend that my student come to ODU, but now that it has a School of Music, I'm recommending they attend.'"

Larry Giddens attests to the quality of music education at ODU. He arrived on campus in 1996, received a bachelor's degree and has returned to pursue a master's degree.

Originally a trumpet player, he dreamed of playing in the symphony orchestra. But Klein saw him as a vocalist.

"Since then, the world-class education I received from this prestigious Department of Music has led me around the world as a professional opera singer," he said. "I owe everything to Old Dominion University and its dedicated staff.

"Now we're a named school of music. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this University."

Sandstrom noted that last year the Department of Music hosted 140 events that were attended by 7,000 people. More events with a greater reach are planned this year. The F. Ludwig Diehn Chorale performed two pieces at the dedication, "Hold Fast To Dreams" and "Walk In Jerusalem." The Stanger String Quartet also performed.

Broderick said, "Every time I hear the marching band at a football game, listen to the Diehn Chorale like we just did at a University event or attend the annual side-by-side concert our orchestra participates in with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, I witness -- and so do you -- the great work being done here to nurture the incredible talent being unleashed throughout our Commonwealth and beyond."

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