Ding Music Hall Officially Opens its Doors

Leena Mirchandani ’25, Editor

On the first day of fall classes, Arts Department Chair Alan Michaels gave orchestra students a sneak peek of the Peddie arts center expansion. The students were absolutely amazed by the beauty of the new space, with the expansion consisting of new classrooms, practice rooms, visual arts spaces and the Ding Music Hall.
The initial plans for the arts center expansion began in 2017, and four years later, the construction started. Throughout the renovation, the sights and sounds of heavy machinery and busy vehicles overtook the campus entrance. Michaels described some of the behind-the-scenes work and said, “Because of the delicate nature of building a performing arts-specific space, the project required a great deal of coordination and oversight.”
Peddie Trustee Roger Durling ’82 explained, “With this infrastructure in place, we’re loudly stating the school’s commitment to the arts and acknowledging its importance.” Durling shared his connection to the arts at Peddie and said, “More than 40 years ago, Peddie introduced me to the arts, and it literally changed my life for the better… It is extremely rewarding to know other students will have an even better opportunity than I had.”
To celebrate the opening of the new arts space, excited Peddie students, faculty and alumni gathered to view the alumni visual arts exhibition and music performances. Visual artists Jordan Kelly ’16, Stella Martindale ’16, Scout Zabinski ’16, Jesse Zhou ’16, Maggie Hart ’17, Sharanya Thondapu ’17, Samantha Erman ’18, Lilia Jimenez ’18, Cole Neely ’18, Nikhil Dighe ’19, Maxim Frumkin ’19, Sophia McClellan ’19, Melissa Onwuka ’19, Zhe (Vincent) Hou ’20, Yekaterina Nestser ’20, Isha Bhandaru ’21, and Middy Vella ’21 returned to their alma mater both virtually and in person for the first exhibition in the new state of the art gallery space.
At the conclusion of the arts exhibition, patrons of the arts convened at the Ding Music Hall. Michaels described the music hall “as visually stunning as it is acoustically satisfying. The Ding Music Hall is in itself a work of art.”
As the first note of the inaugural performance reverberated through the Ding Music Hall, the audience was in awe of the sound in this beautiful space. Performances featured current Peddie students as well as recently graduated alumni: Giulia Marolda ’18, Daniel Funderbirk ’19, Mia Huang ’20, Lance Ding ’22, Yajie (Jennifer) Ma ’22, and Kathleen Zhang ’22. The show also showcased diverse talents, from the Peddie choir to the jazz band.
Audience member and Board Chair Emeritus Elizabeth Silverman P’03 ’10 said, “We enjoy staying connected because it gives us an opportunity to witness the joy that Peddie students and faculty exude when they participate in arts activities.” The concert ended with joy and a standing ovation, heralding Peddie musicians of past and present.