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Erin Hanke Brings Energy, Inclusivity to Campus Common’s Performance Hall

View of the performance hall still under construction

January 31, 2019

The new, 600-seat performance hall in the University of Northern Colorado’s Campus Commons building is planning to host exciting, affordable and diverse performances for the campus and surrounding communities.

Erin HankeThat’s the goal of the hall’s new Managing Director, Erin Hanke, D.M.A., who started at UNC last November and hails from Sheridan, Wyoming, New York City, Chicago and, her hometown, Green Bay, Wisconsin.

“The arts provide a quality of life for everyone, and that’s our key mission — to expose Greeley and campus community to the arts while keeping prices low and promoting free and student-central events.

“We want people to understand arts in a way that’s anything, but this privileged, luxury item, it’s not to diminish its value or power, it’s quite the opposite,” she said. “One of our missions here is to make sure anyone who’s interested has the opportunity to see or hear just about anything.”

Ultimately, she wants to make the performance hall a pinnacle for live-performance experiences and a place for top-quality artists, as well as further UNC School of Music’s global reputation and attract artists from all over the world to tour at the hall.

The performance hall is easily the “most complicated space, by far, in the Campus Commons” with over 200 concerts and performances planned to be held in it, said Dean of UNC's College of Performing and Visual Arts, Leo Welch. Construction of the hall is expected to be completed in early April. Watch Welch discuss the performance hall during its construction in the below video:

The seating capacity of the hall can be increased by about 80 seats by using movable seating wagons that are stored under the front of the seating area and raised on the pit lift. 

Hanke’s high energy and always-moving lifestyle fits the mold for her role over the new performance hall since, like her, it can continuously change its acoustics to fit whatever sound comes its way — leaving it open to countless possibilities.

The curtains and walls around the stage, known as the acoustical shell, can be adjusted to accommodate the wide range of sound and performances that will be performed in the space.

“There’s different sounds that can happen in the performance hall,” she said. “Live music is transformative, so I’m most excited of putting great artists on stage.”

From April 25-27, the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival will be hosted at the Commons, where 6,000-8,000 guests are expected over the course of the three-day festival. Also, this summer, two shows from the Little Theatre of the Rockies will be held at the hall, including "Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" and "Jekyll and Hyde," and a summer music series complementing the outdoor "Concerts Under the Stars" will also be offered.

—Written by Katie-Leigh Corder.

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