ONE of Quincy's most historic musical venues has received a significant facelift with the installation of $53,000 worth of audiovisual equipment.
Quincy Junior High School's Morrison Theater is now equipped with a modern high-definition projector, large-format screen and associated electronics to enable musical groups to consistently incorporate multimedia projects into performances.
The contemporary system, installed last month, was made possible, in part, with a $20,000 grant from the Marion Gardner Jackson Charitable Trust. Donations also were received from the Quincy Public Schools Foundation, an anonymous donor and Encore, the volunteer council of the Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association.
QSOA General Manager Jane Polett aptly called the yearlong project to upgrade the venerable facility a "great collaborative effort between the symphony and the (Quincy) School District."
Quincy has developed a reputation as a musical mecca in West-Central Illinois. There not only is a wealth of musical opportunities for youths attending local grade schools, high schools and colleges, but also for those who are older.
Adults in the community have access to the Quincy Symphony Orchestra and Quincy Symphony Chorus, the Quincy Park Band, the Quincy Community Concert Band, the Great River Muddy Opera Company and the Quincy Community Theatre.
And that's just scratching the surface. Many other musical groups also are available, including trios, quartets, quintets and other combinations that offer a variety of musical styles for assorted occasions -- in addition to the rock, country and jazz groups that provide entertainment at local venues.
At the forefront has been Morrison Theater, named after Paul Morrison, a Quincy educator from 1921 to 1951 who pioneered the school district's music program. Morrison and Maude Harding developed the first bands and orchestras in the early 1920s, laying the foundation for generations of award-winning musicians.
In addition to school and community musical events, the ornate auditorium has hosted a number of top-flight musical groups such as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Chicago Symphony and the Vienna Boys Choir.
And now it possesses the audiovisual capabilities found in most present-day venues, which will serve to further enhance opportunities for those who continue to make music synonymous with Quincy.
Clearly, this is a wise investment that will continue to pay handsome dividends for decades to come.