The mood was decidedly festive on January 20 in the Jed Leshowitz Recital Hall on the campus of Montclair State University as President Susan A. Cole and members of the University community joined dignitaries and guests to honor John and Rose Cali and the Cali family, and to officially cut the ribbon for the new home of the John J. Cali School of Music.
With a program that featured music by student brass ensembles, a multimedia tribute to the Calis, remarks by President Cole and College of the Arts Dean Geoffrey Newman, and the ribbon cutting, the event was a fitting opening for the building that now houses the offices of the faculty and staff of the School of Music, teaching studios, rehearsal rooms, classrooms, and the 240-seat recital hall.
John and Rose Cali; family members Angela, Brant, Christopher, Joanne, and Jonna Cali; Eric Caparulo; Chuck Prenner; and Mike Nevins; among others were in attendance representing the Cali family. It was their generous gift to the music program to fund scholarships and a professorship that enabled the University to establish the School of Music, which the University Board of Trustees voted to name in honor of John Cali.
“The support and friendship of John and Rose Cali for Montclair State University over the years has been invaluable,” said President Cole in her remarks. “Their $5 million gift to our music program was the stimulus that enabled us to turn strong music programs into a preeminent school of music.”
Joining the celebration in the packed recital hall were many dignitaries including Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly Sheila Oliver, Governor Richard J. Codey, and Assemblymen Ralph Caputo, Thomas Giblin, Scott Rumana, and Frederick Scalera. Legislators from Montclair were also on hand including Mayor Jerry Fried, and Councilmen Carey Africk, Nick Lewis, and Rich Murnick.
The depth of gratitude and respect that Montclair State University has for John Cali was conveyed by President Cole who said, “John’s name is truly a blessing to this school. His character, his intelligence, his kindness, will stand for us and for our students not just for the love of music and education, but as the model of what a person can become.”
Although the ribbon cutting is over, celebrations for the opening will be continuing throughout the weekend. On Saturday, January 23, faculty and student musicians will be presenting a Cali School Opening Celebration Concert at 8:00 p.m. in the Leshowitz Recital Hall, and on Sunday, January 24 at 3:00 p.m. in the same location, the Distinguished Alumni Celebration Concert will not only celebrate the opening, but honor the school’s distinguished retired faculty members.