Dean's Greetings

In early September we joyfully welcomed 31 new faculty and staff and 155 new students to the Conservatory, but scarcely a week into the semester the havoc and horror of September 11 burst into our lives. Our hearts and minds were dominated by the unfolding calamity. Few of us had any previous experience to guide us. It was a tribute to the Oberlin spirit that through tragedy we discovered anew the value of shared community, to which we returned, day by day and hour by hour, for affirmation and consolation.

Just two weeks later we came together for two concerts inaugurating the new C.B. Fisk organ in Finney Chapel. Broadcast live-to-air by WCLV-FM, a Cleveland-based classical music station, to thousands of Northeast Ohio listeners and to the world via the WCLV web site, the concerts were a heartening confluence of the musical forces of Oberlin, the Oberlin College community, and Oberlin alumni (Alumni Council had its annual meeting that weekend). It was a celebration not only of a magnificent new instrument, but also of the shared values that bind the Oberlin community and of what we can accomplish together. It was, as well, an opportunity to confer an honorary degree upon Professor Fenner Douglass '42 in recognition of his distinguished contributions to the study of organ at Oberlin and around the world.

In this issue of Oberlin Conservatory, we bring you some of what we experienced on campus. Our own Marci Janas '91 gathered the thoughts of several faculty members, students, and alumni about the role of music in helping us cope with trauma and express emotion that often cannot find words. We also try here to give you a sense of the spectacular C.B. Fisk organ. For those of you who could not join us in September, music writer Scott Cantrell and several professional organists who tried their hands during the weekend's celebration weigh in with their thoughts.

For me, the extraordinary contrasts in September underscore the importance of reaffirming for each generation of students our traditional devotions to liberal learning, intellectual rigor, artistic excellence, and social engagement so uniquely embodied by Oberlin. More than ever in our lives, it would seem the future depends upon us, upon our commitment to carry the burden of these values, to persevere.

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Robert K. Dodson