The Division of Music at the University of Arkansas at Monticello has a new piano and music technology laboratory, thanks in part to a $20,000 donation from the school’s Centennial Opportunity Fund.

UAM recently spent a total of $40,000 to purchase 12 student pianos, one instructor piano, and a lab controller that allows the teacher to communicate with all students in the class through headphones individually or in groups. The purchase also included 12 Dell Optiplex 9020 computers and monitors, which are connected to the pianos, allowing the students to compose and arrange while transferring the music directly to the computers.

Dr. Paul Becker and Linda Yeiser in UAM’s new piano / music technology lab.

Dr. Paul Becker and Vice Chancellor Linda Yeiser in UAM’s new piano/music technology lab.

In addition to the $20,000 provided by the Centennial Opportunity Fund, the remaining funds were provided by the School of Arts and Humanities and the Division of Music.

“This lab is easily the most current, up-to-date lab in the region,” said Dr. Paul Becker, professor of music. “It will be used mainly to teach piano but will also provide a place for our students to learn, write, compose, arrange and print music. I would like to thank the Centennial Opportunity Fund Committee for approving our request for the lab and the Centennial Circle donors who made this gift possible. I’d also like to thank (Arts and Humanities) Dean Mark Spencer for his continued support of the music program. It’s exciting to have the best tools available for faculty and students to use. The lab will be an asset to the music program for years to come.”

The Centennial Opportunity Fund was created during UAM’s centennial celebration in 2009-10. The fund is the result of the Centennial Circle Campaign, which consisted of 100 donations of $10,000 each to create a $1 million unrestricted endowment to be used to fund various campus projects. Funds may not be used to provide stipends, augment facultysalaries, or fund recurring expenses of the university.

“The Centennial Circle endowment supports wonderful projects that we would be unable to fund otherwise,” said Linda Yeiser, vice chancellor for advancement and university relations. “We asked students, faculty and staff to submit thoughtful and creative proposals that would benefit the University at large. The rule of thumb was ‘Ten years later, can we say that the project made a substantial difference to the Universityand/or to many students?’ I want to commend the committee for their diligence and hard work in selecting a project that promises to do just that.”