Giving in Action: Grand openings of Albert P. Smith Music Building and Linn Maxwell Keller Recital Hall

Students can explore their talents in cutting-edge spaces

Music students now have access to state-of-the-art spaces for learning, studying, practicing and performing in the renovated Albert P. Smith Music Building and Linn Maxwell Keller Recital Hall.

Smith family outside of the new Albert P. Smith Music Center

The building renovations, unveiled in an open house in September 2017 include:

  • New classrooms.
  • New gathering and study spaces.
  • Private teaching studios.
  • Instrument and music storage.
  • New acoustic and sound-reduction measures for teaching, rehearsal and practice areas.

The project has created a space where music students can make connections and explore their talent, said professor Kevin Dobreff, the Music Department's program director.

"The renovations to the Music Center will allow our students to practice, rehearse and collaborate in a much friendlier and student-centered environment," he said. "The innovative acoustic modifications and sound transfer mitigation have created practice rooms and teaching spaces that truly meet the demands of professional musicians."

The building, at 142 Ransom St. NE, was constructed in 1922 and served as a physical education building for Strong Junior High School and then Grand Rapids Junior College. It was first renovated for use by the Music Department in 1980.

It was officially renamed for Albert P. Smith in August 2015, in recognition of his vision and leadership. Smith's 35-year career with the college began in 1947. In 1960, he became chairman of GRJC’s humanities division, which included the Music Department. During his tenure, GRJC became one of the first junior colleges accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. GRCC is currently the only community college in Michigan with a music department that is an accredited NASM member.

Linn Maxwell Keller's family pictured in the Linn Maxwell Keller Recital Hall

A special ceremony and concert was held in October 2017 to unveil the newly renovated Linn Maxwell Keller Recital Hall.

Mezzo-soprano Linn Maxwell Keller, who died in 2016, was an ardent supporter of GRCC's music program. 

The recital hall, created as part of the $8.5 million music building renovation project, provides options for acoustic adjustment and includes seating for 104 — which can be deployed or retracted to create rehearsal space for large groups.

President Dr. Bill Pink said the recital hall is a fitting way to honor Linn Maxwell Keller’s legacy.

“We are grateful to everyone who helped us create this space, and we are excited to share the amazing talents of our student-performers,” he said. “I appreciate Fred Keller and his long history of being a partner to GRCC. We’re honored to have Linn’s name on this beautiful recital hall."