Robert & Beverly Washburn Rehearsal Room Dedicated, in Special Ceremony at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music
Excited chatter and the scattered sounds of scales gave way to lively tunes in the premier ensemble rehearsal room at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music on Friday, April 21. For the crowd gathered to honor two longtime members of the Crane community, Dr. Robert B. Washburn ’49 and Beverly Darnell Washburn ’63, the setting and the soundtrack couldn’t have been more appropriate.
“You know, there are concert halls all over the world named after famous people, but this is where the work happens,” said Brooks Washburn, as he spoke at the ceremony dedicating the new space in honor of his parents. “It is truly a fitting tribute to them that it’s a rehearsal room, because that’s where the work gets done and that’s where the payoff really comes.”
Brooks Washburn, center, speaks with his girlfriend Anna Melios during a ceremony dedicating the Robert and Beverly Washburn Rehearsal Room in honor of his late parents.
SUNY Potsdam President Dr. Suzanne Smith shakes hands with Brooks Washburn, in a ceremony dedicating the Robert and Beverly Washburn Rehearsal Room in honor of his late parents.
From left, SUNY Potsdam President Dr. Suzanne Smith, Blake Washburn, Wendy (Scharf) Corcione ‘04, Brooks Washburn, Anna Melios and Crane School of Music Dean Dr. Will Gibbons pose for a portrait following a dedication of Robert & Beverly Washburn Rehearsal Room at The Crane School of Music.
The space, which was finalized as part of a $21.5 million renovation and expansion of The Crane School of Music, will now forever be known as the Robert and Beverly Washburn Rehearsal Room, in recognition of the Washburn family’s long and proud history at the institution.
“This space, the Washburn Rehearsal Room, is Crane’s premier rehearsal environment. It’s designed from the ground up to allow our large ensembles to safely and effectively prepare for the kinds of transformative, iconic performances we offer every year on this campus, in our community and around the world,” said Crane School of Music Dean Dr. William Gibbons. “But fancy bells and whistles aside, what makes the Crane experience truly special is people… today we celebrate two of those figures.”
Dr. Robert B. Washburn '49 and Beverly Darnell Washburn '63 were beloved members of the SUNY Potsdam family for more than five decades, dedicating their lives to educating and nurturing generations of students on campus and in the community. Dr. Washburn was greatly admired and respected by hundreds of students and colleagues who studied and worked with him during his tenure as a faculty member and dean at The Crane School of Music. As an educator, musician and composer, Dr. Washburn had his works performed at Crane, in the White House, at Carnegie Hall, and at the opening ceremonies of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.
The Frackenpohl Honors Brass Quintet performed one of those works, “Five Miniatures for Five Brasses,” as a highlight of the ceremony, showcasing the room’s acoustics for all to hear.
Analiese Meidenbauer '24 plays the tuba while performing “Five Miniatures for Five Brasses” with the Frackenpohl Honors Brass Quintet on Friday, April 21, during the dedication of Robert & Beverly Washburn Rehearsal Room.
Dr. Lauren Becker, director of the Frackenpohl Honors Brass Quintet, applauds as her students perform a work by the late Crane School of Music Dean Emeritus Dr. Robert Washburn ’49, in a ceremony honoring him and his wife, Beverly.
Crane student Cole Fortier '23 Performs on the piano during a ceremony dedicating the Robert and Beverly Washburn Rehearsal Room at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.
For her part, Mrs. Washburn was a founding member and assistant director of the Women’s Air Force Band, before teaching at Potsdam Central School for two decades. She was an active supporter of arts in the community, including service to the Orchestra of Northern New York, the Potsdam Public Museum Board and the American Association of University Women.
In a loving speech recounting his parents’ lives, Brooks Washburn said: “I have to, for the record, say that they were definitely a team. If they had not met each other, neither of them would have gotten anywhere. We’ve got a couple of grandkids here, shaking their heads ‘yes.’”
The couple thoughtfully gave back to their alma mater throughout their lives, establishing a scholarship fund to support experiential travel for students, and donating an extensive collection of eclectic global musical instruments collected from their world travels. In honor of their family's long and proud history, the Washburn children, Brooks Washburn and Roberta Washburn Scarf, made gifts in excess of $250,000 to name the rehearsal room in their parents’ memory.
“Today, we celebrate a long tradition of giving from the Washburn family. For the Washburns, Potsdam wasn’t just where they lived or worked, it was home—for them and their children. Beginning with Bob and Beverly, the Washburn family has given selflessly of their time and resources, having supported scholarships, student travel and performances, the Community Performance Series, alumni activities, and even facilities at Crane. Today, we acknowledge the philanthropy of their children who chose to perpetuate their parents’ memory and tradition of giving with a contribution to Crane and the naming of this space,” said Amy Kellogg ’99, president of the Potsdam College Foundation Board of Trustees.
To learn more about giving to SUNY Potsdam, visit www.potsdam.edu/giving.
About The Crane School of Music:
Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution and was one of the first Yamaha Institutions of Excellence. For more information, please visit www.potsdam.edu/crane.
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