By Ethan Robinson
Starting in 2014 and throughout the past year, large-scale renovation took place for the liberal arts building on the Northeastern Junior College campus, E.S. French Hall. Improvements have rendered it a beautiful building, with a full black-box theatre, atrium, and high quality facilities for collegiate learning. The changes allow for high technological potential for the performing departments of music and theatre. Spacious classrooms and workshops also proudly take up the rest of the building. The facility also has an art gallery hosting the work of many local artists, including some high school students as featured elsewhere on the Bengal Cry. Total costs for the renovations numbered near 14 million dollars.
To celebrate the reopening of the building, NJC held a ceremony on the first Saturday of this month, April 2. Attendees paid a large sum of 50 dollars a ticket, and for good reason. The celebration’s featured lineup was as follows: musician Braydon Zink, then the NJC choir, followed by a performance from international pianist Richard Steinbach, a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Theatre class, the NJC community jazz band, an hour long set by Eagles tribute band The Long Run, then some final dance-worthy songs from the Juke-Joint Cruisers, where Music Professor Lee Lippstrew plays as the drummer.
High school students that are a part of the NJC community jazz band and performed include: sophomores Bowen Brandt, Luke Jensen, and Alex Kalan, juniors Ethan Farquhar and Kinzi Kaiser, and senior Kelly McDonald.
McDonald, also drum major for the SHS Band, commented that, “The jazz band killed it, and the opening ceremony of ES French went really smooth and transparent as far as changing sets for the different performers.”
Earlier this month, the theatre class held the first drama production “The 39 Steps”.