Celebrate the old and embrace the new this Saturday

Hancher Auditorium
A rendering the new Hancher facility by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.

This weekend, make time to celebrate the old and embrace the new at a unique arts event welcoming Hancher Auditorium back to the University of Iowa campus.

On Saturday, June 29 from 4-5 p.m., the Hancher Site Ceremony will be held at the future location of the new Hancher facility on Park Road near the Levitt Center. The ceremony will feature San Jose Taiko and renowned writer, composer, director and performer Rinde Eckert.

When Hancher was first built in the ‘70s, three workers perished in its construction. San Jose Taiko was invited to create a ceremony to protect the safety of the workers at the new site for the three or so years it takes to build it.

“San Jose Taiko is going to … start at the old building and transfer the energy and the history from the old building to the new building,” says Hancher Executive Director Charles Swanson.

Taiko is a powerful, booming choreographed drumming experience performed on traditional Japanese instruments that range from snare-drum size to up to several tons. San Jose Taiko’s piece will begin on a stage near the old Hancher site, then form a 300-foot processional that will end at the site of the new location.

Rinde Eckert will provide vocal accompaniment to this performance. Eckert was a teenager when the original Hancher was built, and has many fond memories of both the theatre and living in Iowa City.

“By coming together to remember the beauty and spiritual uplift with which Hancher has graced this community, we reinforce our commitment to stewardship of the arts in our heartland,” Eckert notes.

The site ceremony is yet another example of how the employees have demonstrated resilience and positivity in spite of losing their building in the 2008 flood.

“It’s been a real journey and a real learning experience, and I feel that throughout it all we’ve stayed really true to our mission and to the work that we do, and that’s bringing some of the world’s greatest arts to the University. “ says Swanson. “There’s a lot of opportunities at Hancher that have been temporarily lost, but they’ll be back. They will be back.”