CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – In 2010, a group of Clarksville residents, led by local lawyer Evans Harvill, set out on a mission to rename the state-of-the-art concert hall in Austin Peay State University’s Music/Mass Communication Building. For more than 30 years, these individuals had enjoyed world-class musical performances presented by Drs. George and Sharon Mabry, and they thought it a shame that the two long-time APSU music faculty members didn’t have something properly honoring their service to the community.
“They are the captains of the flagship of the University,” Harvill said at the time. “There are very few people that have the talent of George and Sharon Mabry and use it for the benefit of the University and the community. We have a great music facility, and I have been trying for years to get that named for them.”
That fall, Harvill organized the Mabry Legacy Campaign, which sought to raise $500,000 in scholarships in order to rename the University’s centerpiece music venue. That goal was quickly achieved, and at 3 p.m. on Nov. 11, the space will officially be renamed the George and Sharon Mabry Concert Hall.
“George and I have been blessed over the years to have the support of the community and the University for our artistic activities,” Dr. Sharon Mabry said. “We deeply appreciate this singular honor bestowed by the University and supported by the generosity of the community and alumni in providing funds for scholarships for students in the arts as part of the Mabry Legacy.”
To celebrate the occasion, the Clarksville Community Concert Association is hosting a special performance that day by the Nashville Symphony and Chorus. The naming ceremony will take place during the concert. A limited number of tickets remain, and they can be purchased by visiting www.clarksvillemusic.org or by calling the CCCA at 877-811-0200.
For 33 years, George Mabry served as the APSU director of choral activities and director of the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts. He is a published composer and formerly the director of the Nashville Symphony chorus, where his performances received national recognition.
Beginning her career at APSU in 1970, Sharon Mabry, professor of music, is known internationally as a recitalist, recording artist, writer and a master teacher of vocal techniques. She recently published an acclaimed memoir and career-advice book, “The Performing Life: A Singer’s Guide to Survival.”
Together, the Mabrys were instrumental in the development of the APSU music program. They’ve mentored thousands of young, talented musicians, many of whom have established successful careers in the music world.
During George Mabry’s tenure as director of the Center of Excellence, the University opened the state-of-the-art Music/Mass Communication Building, with its 600-seat concert theater. That space quickly gained a reputation as one of the finest acoustical environments in the Southeast.
“Visiting performing artists to Austin Peay have told me that outside of the major performing arts halls in this country, our concert hall offers the best experience for both the artists and the audience,” Christopher Burawa, director of the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, said last year.
In March 2006, The Robb Report Home Entertainment Magazine named the venue as one of the top 10 “premiere concert halls” in the nation. The magazine’s article, “Superior Sights & Sounds,” placed the hall among the ranks of illustrious other venues, such as The Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, the Symphony Hall in Boston and the Los Angeles’ famed Walt Disney Concert Hall.
“To name the concert hall after them will let them know how much we appreciate all they’ve done for us,” Harvill said last year.
A reception will take place immediately after the Nov. 11 concert in the main entrance lobby, with the official unveiling of the name to occur at this time. For more information or questions regarding the Mabry naming, contact the APSU Office of Alumni Relations at 931-221-7979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo cutline: Drs. George and Sharon Mabry stand in the concert hall that will soon be renamed in their honor. (Photo by Beth Liggett/APSU).