Schroeder Hall Gets $1 Million Boost—Maybe

Fundraising for the unfinished student portion of the $150 million Green Music Center at Sonoma State University is getting a kickstart, thanks to a $1 million pledge by Sandy and Joan Weill.

The Weills, who donated $12 million toward the completion of the main hall now named in their honor, will give $1 million toward the completion of the 250-seat Schroeder Hall. This donation is dependent upon the university securing $2 million in donations by Sept. 1, 2013. Donations must be at least $100,000 to qualify toward the million-dollar match.

University officials had long declared that $5 million was needed to finish the hall, which will be used for student and smaller choral performances. Now, apparently, that number is down to $3 million. (In related news, the center’s outdoor pavilion, which once needed more than the $15 million MasterCard donated for naming rights, has also been scaled back in scope and will be seeking no further funding.)

Schroeder Hall will be a student recital hall following the original idea by Don Green, for whom the center was named, after he and his wife Maureen donated the first $10 million to the Green Music Center project.

The hall was named by Jean Schulz in recognition of the Beethoven-loving pianist in her late husband Charles’ comic strip, Peanuts. (She donated $5 million toward the completion of the project.) The exterior has been finished since 2008, but the inside remains seatless and barren. A 1,248-pipe Brombaugh Opus 9 pipe organ, currently housed in Rochester, NY, will be installed permanently upon completion. The music department hopes to hold many of its 70 annual concerts in Schroeder Hall.

Before Yo-Yo Ma’s concert in January at the Green Music Center, the university held a cocktail reception inside Schroeder Hall for large donors. A projection of the artist’s rendering of the completed hall was cast above the stage, and complimentary cocktails and smoked salmon puffs were distributed in hopes of massaging the pocketbooks of the North Bay’s most affluent music lovers. Weill himself solicited donations to complete Schroeder Hall before a group of VIP attendees at a gala dinner after the concert.