|Wade Alexander, Class of 1953|
|It was an intimate, friendly building that gave us a sense of being part of the ongoing mission of Ithaca College.|
My first experience at the Boardman House was in the autumn of 1949 when, as an entering freshman, I joined a group of IC students gathering on the steps and small front porch to wait for the start of my first orchestra rehearsal. It was a clear fall day, the grand wisteria plant that had woven its way around the pillars, over the doorway and across the bricks, provided an idyllic setting that was enhanced each spring when the plant bloomed and filled the air with its fragrance.
I was a fresh faced but pimply 19-year-old from the Southern Tier, highly anticipating my first rehearsal with the IC Orchestra, and more than a bit awed by the upperclass instrument case carrying orchestra members who were waiting there. I was silent, listening to the banter, happy to belong as a newly minted IC student. My whole rose-colored feeling was shattered by a young woman cellist who stubbed out her cigarette and grunted, "Now I suppose we have to go and play in that dammed orchestra."
After that downer our small group filed through the door down the creaky-floored hallway, past the teaching studios, including conductors Craig McHenry and Walter Beeler, and then up the antiquated stairway and into the rehearsal hall above the little theater.
I never shared the tired, cynical opinion of the other cello player. Her remark, though, has (over these 50-plus years since my wife Marianne Goullin and I graduated in 1953), remained in my mind as a sad aberration to the small, beautiful front entrance to the Boardman House. During the 40 years we brought up our six children on Marianne’s family farm near Freeville, I often drove past the Boardman House, and I always glanced at that wisteria-bedecked entrance and remembered the many times we passed through it on the way to lessons, rehearsals, or to the small storage shelves in the organ practice room where we sometimes left extra books and our winter coats.
It was an intimate, friendly building that gave us a sense of being part of the ongoing mission of Ithaca College: to train us to be the best music teachers possible. I really believe that over the years that mission was complemented by the Boardman’s atmosphere. It lacked the grandness of Ford Hall, where as a grad student and concert attendee I never felt the down-to-earth hominess of the old Cayuga Street building.