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Trachte Music Center


Breathing New Life into a Campus and Community Through Music

In Williamsport, Pennsylvania, a 1200-student liberal arts college is tapping the power of music – and in particular a sophisticated and inspiring music facility – to bring together town and gown while also improving learning and life experience for students. The facility is the Trachte Music Center, an integral part of a larger 2014 civic-academic partnership, Gateway, that has helped redefine, revitalize and connect the campus and its Old City neighborhood.

Lycoming President Kent Trachte has compared the appeal of music on campus to that of athletics. Both enable a college to give back to its community, offering opportunities for college neighbors both to play and to spectate. As for students, they appreciate music, again like athletics, whether they are taking classes for a degree in the subject, or participating for fun.

The Music Program Finds a New Home

Founded in the 19th century, Lycoming early on offered musical instruction and performances. In spite of this long history, the Trachte Center – named for the college president and his wife, Sharon – was its first significant investment in a music facility in many decades. In fact, before Trachte was completed, the music program had been housed in the school’s historic chapel.

To carry out the civic-academic partnership’s vision, the planners paid assiduous attention to detail. The acoustics of the performance and rehearsal space have successfully expanded the available array of programming to engage more musicians and listeners. Practice rooms are partitioned for maximum flexibility and incorporate up-to-date technology for recording, mixing and streaming. In the atrium, abundant windows create an inviting atmosphere for gatherings and casual interactions, while decorative touches like musical notes dotting light globes serve to remind that music is fun.

Working with BHDP Architecture and Giancarlo Del Vita, Reese-Hackman contributed electrical, lighting, plumbing and mechanical systems, as well as technology infrastructure, for the 14,000 square foot Trachte Center, which opened to rave reviews in 2022.

Let the Music Play in Many New Ways

Since then, the building’s popularity has borne out the planners’ vision. More Lycoming students than ever are making music, and new musical opportunities have raised the college’s profile beyond the campus, bringing new audiences and musicians to take part. The Billtown Brass, Williamsport Symphony, and multiple school music programs have all used Trachte for rehearsal, performance, or both. Epitomizing the new town-gown synergy is a jazz ensemble that joins professional Williamsport-area musicians with Lycoming students and faculty.

Alumni are also big fans, even if they envy today’s students who enjoy the first-class facility every day. At the same time, alumni say, they feel prouder than ever of their alma mater for its investment in music and in its community.