Release Date: April 8, 2008
Kennesaw State dedicates new rehearsal hall in honor of opera coach
Contact: Cheryl Anderson Brown, Assistant Director of Public Relations, 770-499-3417 or email@example.com
(Above) Gwendolyn Brooker
Photo by Patrick Bowling
(Below) Eric & Gwendolyn Brooker Rehearsal Hall
KENNESAW, Ga.– Kennesaw State University’s new rehearsal hall will be dedicated on Saturday, April 12 at the KSU Opera Theatre performance of “The Yeomen of the Guard.” Named the Eric & Gwendolyn Brooker Rehearsal Hall, this 3,600 square-foot hall in the Dr. Bobbie Bailey & Family Performance Center is used daily by the KSU Department of Music for various classes and for rehearsals by several resident ensembles, including the KSU Chamber Singers and the KSU Opera Theatre Company.
This hall is dedicated in honor of the significant gift Gwendolyn Brooker made to support scholarships in the KSU Department of Music. Brooker has been a long-time friend of the College of the Arts, including more than 10 years of service on the university’s music advisory board. She chose to honor the memory of her husband Eric Brooker, who also strongly supported the arts at KSU.
The hall will be dedicated during the opera theatre performance, which holds special significance for the Brooker family. Brooker has been an opera vocal coach for more than 30 years and currently serves as a vocal coach and rehearsal accompanist for the KSU opera program, which was established in 2006 under the direction of Russell Young.
The Brookers immigrated to the United States from Australia with their teenage sons in the 1970s. They settled originally in Chicago where Eric Brooker continued his career as a communications engineer and Gwendolyn Brooker continued her career as a piano accompanist and opera vocal coach. Having previously worked with Sydney Opera House, she began working with the Chicago Lyric Opera and also as a private coach for acclaimed mezzo-soprano and Marietta native, Jennifer Larmore, Grammy Award winner and artist-in-residence at KSU.
In the mid 1990s, the Brookers retired to Atlanta to be closer to one of their now adult sons and quickly became involved with the local cultural community, including Kennesaw State. The Brookers also became regular attendees at the university’s many musical performances and eventually began recommending artists and helping the school make more connections in the world of international classical music.
Through it all, the Brookers maintained a keen interest in the growth and development of the university’s music department. In addition to advising, the couple also donated time, financial contributions and other resources, including a Boston piano to the music department. Sadly, Eric Brooker lost his long struggle with cancer in December 2004.
The Eric & Gwendolyn Brooker Rehearsal Hall will be dedicated at the April 12 performance of “The Yeomen of the Guard” at 8 p.m. in the Bailey Performance Center. Admission is $15 and tickets are available at the box office online at www.kennesaw.edu/arts. For more information, call 770-423-6650.
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A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 20,000 from 132 countries. The third-largest university in Georgia, Kennesaw State offers more than 60 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including new doctorates in education and business.
The KSU College of the Arts is one of only four Georgia institutions to have achieved full national accreditation for all of its arts programs.