State senator, wife raising funds for concert hall next to Mesa Arts Center - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

State senator, wife raising funds for concert hall next to Mesa Arts Center

$150 million ‘world-class’ facility won’t be for performance, strictly music

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Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2013 3:59 am | Updated: 6:56 pm, Tue Jun 18, 2013.

Within the next five years, District 25 state Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, and his wife Christi hope to have Arizona’s first “world-class concert hall” adjacent to another city institution available for public use.

Planned to open next to the Mesa Arts Center, Bob Worsley said the concert hall, called Consolari, will be the first of its kind in the state and among a select few in the cities and states west of the Mississippi River. He added the options in the west are sparse when compared with the eastern half of the country, which sports venues like the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Although Arizona does several options to watch musical performances, Christi Worsley said Consolari will not have a stage to host theater performances. Rather, it will be “purely acoustic” and built solely for music performances by orchestras, symphonic bands and philharmonics, among other options.

“We have lots of halls, but we don’t have a concert hall,” she said.

The Worsleys expect the hall to cost $150 million to build — not including an endowment to operate the building — and the goal is to have it completed by 2018. When it is completed, Bob Worsley said it will be a “world-class” facility capable of attracting high-profile performers from around the world to Mesa.

There are three reasons the Worsleys cite for their efforts to build the Consolari hall — the first being a desire to develop the region’s artistic offerings and make the options for residents and visitors even broader than they already are.

“We’re just trying to round it out,” Christi Worsley said.

City of Mesa public information officer Steven Wright seconded Christi Worsley’s sentiment, and added the facility would add another piece of artistic culture to Mesa.

“I think it’s just a huge advantage to the downtown area,” he said.

Reason two is tied to the death of one of the Worsley grandchildren at a young age. Something that helped them get through the death was what Christi Worsley called the “healing power of music,” which she said can help families overcome such tragedies. Consolari, which means “to console” or “to comfort” in Latin, will also have a garden component where families with young children who have died can plant a rose bush as an act of remembrance.

The final reason comes from the benefits music can have on students, with Bob Worsley mentioning the discipline, social skills and neurological developments aspiring musicians can gain while learning to play an instrument. Similarly, Bob Worsley said the organizers will work with Mesa’s schools to get students access to the facility on a frequent basis.

Even outside of school hours, Christi Worsley said music lovers who can’t afford tickets can watch videos of the concerts going on inside through a broadcast along a 7,000 sq. foot wall.

“This is not about the highbrow; this is about the community being involved,” she said.

Beyond the factors mentioned by the Worsleys, Wright said the concert hall could feed off of the performing arts center’s Ikeda Theater, as the two buildings can offer different types of programs to match their specific functions.

And the there is a difference between a facility like Ikeda, which Wright called a “wonderful” theater, and a concert hall built specifically for music performance. That’s a difference he is familiar with first-hand as a member of the East Valley Millenial Choir and Orchestras group, as he said the acoustic gap between a performing arts center and a concert hall is quite noticeable.

Plus, Wright said Consolari could evolve into a place akin to Juilliard in New York City and attract aspiring musicians to Mesa.

“It’s not just a concert hall; it’s a concert hall and a campus for a music conservatory,” he said.

Visit consolari.org for more information about the project.

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