View of the Hill
UMS' documentary on Hill Auditorium centennial to air May 19 on PBS
By Truly Render
University Musical Society (UMS) celebrates the centenary of Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium with an original, feature-length documentary entitled: A Space for Music, A Seat for Everyone: 100 Years of UMS in Hill Auditorium. This 56-minute documentary is scheduled to air on Detroit Public Television (DPTV) on May 19 at 5 pm (WTVS – Channel 56.1).
One of the most storied venues in the United States, Hill Auditorium opened on May 14, 1913. Designed by the renowned architect Albert Kahn and boasting one of the world’s finest acoustical designs, Hill Auditorium has been a true cultural incubator for the arts community in southeast Michigan for the past 100 years. With a rich history of performances by the world’s top artists, Hill Auditorium is a shining example of how investment in the arts cultivates a vibrant, engaged community.
In many ways, Hill Auditorium is more than a gathering place for music enthusiasts; it has been the beating heart of civic life in Ann Arbor for a century and has created a self-perpetuating reputation for attracting top talent, both to the venue, the university, and the city itself. Through concert recordings, news articles, and anecdotal interviews, A Space for Music, A Seat for Everyone: 100 Years of UMS in Hill Auditorium provides historical context for the auditorium’s role as a UMS anchor-venue and highlights its evolving community function.
“Researching and producing A Space for Music, A Seat for Everyone was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the history of my own community,” said UMS Video Producer Sophia Kruz. “I grew up in Ann Arbor, and have fond memories both performing on Hill’s stage and attending concerts in the hall. Prior to starting this project, I was certainly familiar with how important Hill Auditorium has been to the southeastern MI community over the past 100 years.
“What I didn’t realize, however, was how many other members of our community share such deeply personal relationships with the hall, and how important Hill Auditorium is to them as well,” she said.
“The role that UMS has played in the formation and evolution of Hill Auditorium over the last 100 years is something that we are very proud of,” said UMS President Kenneth Fischer. “The strong feelings of connectedness that Ann Arbor residents feel with Hill Auditorium are just as enthralling as the great artists who have performed here. And we are simply thrilled to have a documentarian as talented as UMS’s own Sophia Kruz to tell this story for us with such integrity and impact.”
In addition to the documentary project, UMS is honoring a century’s worth of legendary performing arts experiences in Hill Auditorium with a rich season featuring both new and returning artists, including theater and dance companies, orchestras, chamber and jazz ensembles, and global music sensations from Mexico, Brazil, Africa, Japan, India, and Iraq. Special Education and Community Engagement opportunities surrounding these performances are happening throughout the season as well. Info and details at ums.org.