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Exhibitions and Events

Raise the roof

By Marilou Carlin

The annual Collage Concert, presented by the School of Music, Theatre & Dance 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, is set to raise the roof on the venue it has called home for 36 years. Inaugurating the University’s year-long celebration of Hill Auditorium’s 100th anniversary, Collage XXXVI will showcase a dazzling display of student talent from across all of the performing arts disciplines, while paying homage to one of the country’s finest concert halls.

Collage has been a tradition at SMTD since 1977 and is one of the most popular events of the year. It features hundreds of students appearing in nearly 30 different short performances, presented back-to-back with no pause in between. The program includes choirs, orchestras, bands and a variety of other ensembles, as well as soloists, dancers, and scenes from plays and musicals. A broad musical spectrum is covered, from classical to jazz, and from baroque to contemporary, with unique arrangements, stimulating repertoire, and creative interdisciplinary collaborations.

For SMTD students, Hill Auditorium is especially important, as it is one of the School’s primary venues. With its combination of excellent acoustics and massive size, it offers an ideal environment for artists to master their craft, helping to prepare them for professional careers. It is also an inspirational space, the site of performances by the world’s greatest musicians, as presented by UMS, over the last century; the hall’s legacy contributes powerfully to the student experience. Additionally, many of the artists who appear at Hill also lead SMTD master classes.

To celebrate the Hill centennial, Collage XXXVI pays tribute with a program that reflects Hill’s first 100 years. Included are works by composers born in 1913, works that have a unique connection to U-M, and compositions from the last century, particularly the years surrounding Hill’s 1913 opening. The artistic director for Collage XXXVI is Jerry Blackstone, director of choral activities and professor and chair of the conducting department, who was assisted by Christopher Lees, lecturer of conducting and associate director of orchestras.

“In some cases, works were chosen simply because it’s Hill Auditorium,” said Blackstone. “The space and acoustics are so good, that even when the hall is full, the sound is still great.” That reliability allows for inventive programming, in which repertoire and ensembles of a wide variety can confidently be presented.

Tickets for Collage XXXVI are available now at the League Ticket Office, 734-764-2538, or online at For more information on Hill Auditorium and its centennial, visit

Marilou Carlin is a writer for the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance

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