Purdue dedicates PMO's Bailey Hall, open house set Saturday (Oct. 11)

October 10, 2014  

Bailey Hall

Ralph and Bettye Bailey are recognized by the large crowd - including Purdue President Mitch Daniels, at right - gathered Friday (Oct. 10) for the dedication of the new home for the Purdue Musical Organizations named in their honor. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood) 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Some 80 years after its first performance, Purdue Musical Organizations finally has a home to call all its own.

PMO has moved into Ralph and Bettye Bailey Hall, a sparkling new 15,300-square-foot facility at the corner of Grant Street and Northwestern Avenue that features large and small rehearsal rooms, a student lounge, study area, a music library and environmentally controlled storage space. After a private dedication ceremony was held on Friday (Oct. 10), a public open house will be from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday (Oct. 11).

"Purdue Musical Organizations has wowed audiences, not just on campus, but across Indiana and the nation, for over three-quarters of a century," Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. "Our first-rate musical groups now have a first-rate facility in which they can hone their talents."

Founded in 1933, Purdue Musical Organizations since 1940 has been housed on several floors of the Elliott Hall of Music. In 2009 the PMO student rehearsal spaces and music director offices were relocated to University Church near campus until Bailey Hall construction was completed.

The new hall is named for Ralph E. and Bettye J. Holder Bailey, who donated $4.5 million of the more than $7.6 million raised for the facility. More than 500 people donated to the project.

"The wait for our new home is officially over," PMO director William Griffel said. "Purdue Musical Organizations is forever grateful to Ralph and Bettye Bailey, their incredible family and all the Bailey Hall donors for making this dream a reality. Without the generous support we continue to receive from our alumni and friends and the legacy that has been built by the efforts of all our students and staff throughout PMO's history, this momentous milestone would not be possible."

William Griffel

Purdue Musical Organizations director William Griffel leads Purdue singers during Friday's (Oct. 10) dedication of Ralph and Bettye Bailey Hall. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood) 
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Bailey Hall houses PMO's six choral ensembles, which include the Varsity Glee Club, Purduettes, University Choir, Purdue Bells, Heart & Soul and All Campus & Community Chorale. More than 300 students are involved in PMO each year, and they perform more than 120 concerts annually, including the widely renowned Purdue Christmas Show, which is broadcast internationally on public television and radio networks.

The hall provides a large enough space for all the ensembles to rehearse together, as well as smaller rooms and space for collaborating with campus and community groups. The three large rehearsal rooms accommodate the growth PMO has experienced in recent years. Three individual and two group practice rooms provide space that PMO students and staff have desired for years, Griffel said. Each rehearsal and practice room is equipped with a donated piano, and each music room was designed to enhance acoustics.

An accessible equipment storage room also was a priority in designing Bailey Hall, Griffel said. The storage room is on the ground floor, with enough space for risers, sound equipment and other properties, and it has a motorized garage door and outdoor canopy to help ensure safety in loading and unloading.

A student lounge is named in memory of PMO founder Dr. Albert P. Stewart.

"Bailey Hall will raise awareness of PMO programs and will boost recruitment efforts," Griffel said. "PMO's new home will provide a space specifically designed to meet the practice needs of our ensembles and will be a location to showcase our rich history and traditions."

Bailey Hall

Purdue University dedicated Ralph and Bettye Bailey Hall, the new home for Purdue Musical Organizations, on Friday (Oct. 10). The 15,300-square-foot facility at the corner of Grant Street and Northwestern Avenue, is named for the Baileys, who donated more than half of the $7.6 million for its construction. 
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The Baileys, natives of Indiana and residents of Connecticut, have been longtime fans of PMO, dating to Ralph's days as an undergraduate at Purdue. He graduated in 1949 with a degree in mechanical engineering.

"When Ralph was a student at Purdue, he got to know a lot of people and we would go to PMO events," Bettye recalls. "We got interested. Having a love of music, and knowing the organization didn’t have a home, we thought we could help.

"PMO helps balance out the technical character of Purdue. It gives a diversion from the hard studying you have to do to graduate from Purdue."

Ralph Bailey served as chairman of the American Bailey Corp. of Stamford, Connecticut, a private investment company. He also is chairman emeritus of Fuel Tech Inc. and is the retired chairman and CEO of Conoco Inc. He has served Purdue in several leadership roles, including three fundraising campaigns.

After their four children were raised, Bettye Bailey decided to pursue a degree and earned a bachelor's in social sciences in 1984 from the University of Pittsburgh. She served as a trustee at Wilmington (Delaware) University – formerly Wilmington College – for 23 years.

The couple also established the Ralph and Bettye Bailey Professorship of Combustion in Mechanical Engineering and the Ralph and Bettye Bailey Purdue Merit Scholarship. 

Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu 

Sources: William Griffel, 765-494-3948, wgriffel@purdue.edu

President Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Steven Schlenk, manager of operations, PMO, 765-496-6091, sschlenk@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: Video B-roll is available for download at ftp://news69.uns.purdue.edu/Public/BaileyHall/

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