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Hope College Names New Center for Musical Arts in Honor of Civic Leader and Alumnus Jack H. Miller

by Dan Cash

HOLLAND – Hope College will name a new center for musical arts, which
will be constructed on its campus, in honor of Jack H. Miller for his
lifetime of generosity to the college.

The “Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts” will include two
performance venues, classrooms, practice rooms, faculty studios and
office space for the department of music. The 64,000-square-foot
complex will be built along Columbia Avenue between 9th and 10th
streets.

Miller’s major gift to the $35 million project, which includes
construction costs and an endowment for maintenance, will enable the
college to begin construction in the coming school year.  The center
will play an important role in both music performance and music
education at Hope, in addition to serving as a venue for performances
by community organizations.

The building is a significant component of the college’s $175 million
comprehensive campaign, “A Greater Hope”, now nearing completion. It
was inspired by an initial lead gift to the campaign from Richard and
Helen DeVos and brought to fruition by a major gift from Jack H.
Miller.

“I am excited and proud to make this gift to Hope College.  The
students of Hope deserve a new world class facility for music
instruction and performance.”  Miller said.  “I have had a lifelong
love of all arts, especially music.  This gift is for the students of
Hope so they can use their talents and grow and go on to do wonderful
things with their lives.”

Jack H. Miller, who resides in Grand Haven, MI and Naples, FL, is a
1954 graduate of Hope College.  He led the Howard Miller Company for
48 years until retiring in 2002.  The company was founded by his
father, Howard C. Miller, in 1926.

The “Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts” will be located directly
across the street from the Martha Miller Center for Global
Communication, which was made possible by a gift from Martha Miller’s
estate and other contributions from members of the Miller family in
honor of their mother and grandmother.

The Miller family’s involvement with Hope spans more than 90 years.
Martha, who died in May 1999, was a 1924 Hope graduate. Jack’s
siblings, Connie Miller ’58 Johnston and Philip Miller ’65, and all of
Jack’s children: Sue Miller ’81 DenHerder, Buzz Miller ’84 and Meg
Miller ’86 Willit are also alumni.

“Both Hope and the Holland community have dreamed of an acoustically
superior concert hall for many years, and our music students and
faculty have long deserved better space for instruction, rehearsals
and performance,” said President James E. Bultman.  “We are grateful
to the many donors whose support has made the center possible, and
especially appreciate now the transforming legacy gift from Jack H.
Miller that makes what was once a dream a reality.”

The centerpiece of the new building will be an 800-seat concert hall
featuring both main-floor and balcony seating.  The facility will also
house a smaller recital hall seating approximately 125 for more
intimate performances.

Instructional space will include dedicated rehearsal space for the
college’s several choral and instrumental ensembles, 17 individual
practice rooms, an updated piano lab, a computer lab, a percussion
studio, a recording studio and two general-use classrooms. The
building also includes 24 faculty teaching studios and offices.

The department of music presents more than 125 performances, clinics,
workshops and recitals each year.  Hope also features concerts through
programs such as the long-running Great Performance Series.  In
addition to hosting performances, the space will support learning by
hundreds of students each semester.

Hope is making a priority of developing partnerships with community
organizations like the Holland Symphony Orchestra, Holland Chorale and
Grand Rapids Symphony that could benefit from the performance space.
The vision is for the center to become not only a venue for
professional groups, but also a resource for area music teachers and
area schools for conferences, competitions, and recitals.

The “Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts” will be an anchor of the
developing arts corridor along Columbia Avenue between 9th and 14th
streets.  The arts corridor includes the college’s Dow Center - home
to the department of dance, DeWitt Center - home to the department of
theatre and Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, De Pree Art Center and
Gallery, the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication, and the
Kruizenga Art Museum (soon to be under construction).

The “Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts” will replace Nykerk Hall
of Music which was constructed in 1956 when Hope’s enrollment was
1,100 students.  Enrollment this past year was more than 3,300.  Hope
College and Holland have never had a venue dedicated strictly for
music performance.  Over the years, musicians and ensembles have
performed at the Holland Civic Center, area high schools, large
churches, Dimnent Chapel, Wichers Auditorium in Nykerk Hall of Music,
and the Knickerbocker Theatre.

Groundbreaking could be as early as October of this year with
completion anticipated in the fall of 2015.