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Concordia University Irvine Celebrates Grand Opening of Music, Worship & Theology Building

October 13, 2019 - 4 minute read

CUI Faculty & Staff and Friends Cutting Ribbon for BMC Opening

Opening of the Borland-Manske Center is the university's newest building

People gathered outside of the BMC for the open hourse

Concordia Borland Manske Center open house

Nearly 800 people were in attendance to witness the final step to the completion of Concordia University Irvine’s newest building, the Borland-Manske Center (BMC), home of the university’s Music Department and Christ College School of Theology and Church Vocations. On Sat., Oct. 5 students, faculty, and alumni gathered together to bless and dedicate the new building.

The dedication ceremony included reflections by Theology Christ College faculty and speeches by elected officials. "It's been an honor seeing Concordia University Irvine grow from that little Lutheran college on a hill to what it is today," said California State Sen. John Moorlach. A ribbon-cutting followed the ceremony symbolizing the official completion of the building. Inside, self-guided tours and performances by various Concordia ensembles then ensued.

The naming distinction commemorates the vision of Concordia’s founding President, Rev. Dr. Charles Manske and the philanthropic generosity of Mike and Caryn ’85 Borland of Orange, CA.

The 37,500 square foot space is composed of two wings—one home to the Music Department and one home to Christ College School of Theology and Church Vocations. The Borland-Manske Center serves as the intersection of musical tradition and theological foundation, values core to the Lutheran faith.

People touring the new recording studio in the BMC

Concordia Borland Manske Center recording studio

A new recording studio has also found a home in the Borland-Manske building’s music hall. “Concordia's new studio was designed by John Storyk of New York-Based Walters-Storyk Design Group (WSDG) who is quite possibly the world's preeminent acoustician and studio designer,” said  Concordia University Irvine Professor of Music and Director of Commercial Music Steve Young. In addition to designing educational recording complexes for NYU and Berklee College of Music, WSDG has played an integral role in the creation of acoustic designs for NYC’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, and studios used by high profile artists such as Adele, Alicia Keys and Jay Z. “While CUI is fortunate to partner with such a prestigious studio designer, the students are the real beneficiaries as they get to learn and grow in a world-class facility!”

The 1,110 square foot recording studio will be used as a recording, teaching, and rehearsal space. Given Concordia’s proximity to the Los Angeles music industry, the space will provide a venue for students and alumni to grow and gain professional for the workforce.  Both choral and instrumental ensembles will use the professional recording studio, as will the Music Department’s newest major program--Commercial Music.

The main floor of the Music building is composed of an orchestra hall, choral rehearsal hall, percussion room, and piano instruction room. The top floor will also accommodate practice rooms and faculty studios for special practice and instructional tutorials. The lower floor houses a live recording room with three isolation booths, a control room, classrooms, an open office suite, faculty offices, an event space, and conference and breakout rooms.  The studio will be tied into the orchestral and choral rehearsal rooms, allowing for multiple ensembles to record simultaneously.

The Christ College Wing of the building is home to Concordia’s school of theology, church vocations, and philosophy as well as the graphic design program. Updated classrooms, conference rooms, offices and a dedicated library for theological works help comprise this wing. The newly dedicated library for theological works includes a broad range of important and engaging sources on a wide range of theological topics.

“A great advantage of having the library located in the Christ College wing of BMC is that students using the library are close to the faculty who are teaching their courses, so they can ask questions or engage in discussions that they would not have if they had to consult these works in the general library,” stated CUI Associate Dean of Christ College Rev. Dr. David Loy.

Students practicing and using the new recording studio in the BMC

Concordia Borland Manske Center recording studio

New technology-enabled classrooms in the wing also expand the student’s capacity to learn and supplies professors with new possibilities to work. “A number of the rooms in Christ College are equipped for active video conferencing for distance education. Just this afternoon, I taught a class in which my students were in a BMC room while I am away at a conference out of state. That's a true blessing,” said Professor of Theology and Dean of Christ College Rev. Dr. Steven Mueller. With Concordia being the only university that provides a bachelor’s and master’s degree for Directors of Christians Education online, this technology can help boost this program and connect professors with their students around the nation.

The Borland-Manske Center addresses the need for modernized classrooms, lecture halls, rehearsal halls, and office growth and expansion as original facilities have aged since 1976 when the campus was built. The rise of enrollment in music degree programs is another reason for the construction of the new building. 

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