Earlier this month, the University of Iowa quietly uploaded the Hancher construction site ceremony to its official Youtube account. You can watch the entire ceremony below, which begins with a drum procession by Asian American drum troupe San Jose Taiko as they march from Hancher’s old location (a casualty of the 2008 floods) to its new site just a few blocks away.
The group was accompanied by writer, composer, director and performer Rinde Eckert, who was just a teenager living in Iowa City when the original Hancher complex was constructed.
“We are so privileged and very honored to be here to participate in this wonderful occasion –A rebirth, re-opening for Hancher,” said San Jose Taiko founding member Patti Hirabayashi in an opening statement.
“With Rinde Eckert and San Jose Taiko, we are calling in the energies not of just only the music, not just only of the artists, but all of us together that are here today,” she continued. “…So today, we’re not performing for you. We’re performing and celebrating together. This energy that we’re infusing into the ground, to infuse in this new home for Hancher, is such a blessing.”
In part, the ceremony was a symbolic, or perhaps even literal, effort to protect the safety of those involved with the construction project. Three workers perished during the original Hancher’s construction in the ’70s.
In an earlier piece by Little Village contributor Stephanie Catlett, Hancher Executive Director Charlies Swanson noted:
“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.”