The Marlboro Record

Campus Renewal

New Cottages Deepen Connections with Marlboro Music

While Marlboro College is currently focused on the construction of a dynamic new visual arts center (The Marlboro Record, 2014), they have also gained access to some very attractive housing for visiting faculty through a cooperative arrangement with Marlboro Music. The renowned music school and festival, which occupies most of the college campus during the summer, built a series of five cape-style cottages just west of campus for the use of some of their senior artists and their families.

“Like the college, Marlboro Music is centered around a closely-knit, supportive family environment,” said Philip Maneval, manager. “In addition to the collaborative nature of the music-making—a hallmark of chamber music, after all—our musicians, staff and family members all dine, socialize, and learn together. It was vital, therefore, that our new housing be located within walking distance to the campus, so our seniors and their families could remain active in the daily life of the community.” 

Although in earlier times several key members of Marlboro Music owned houses in the area, a new generation of senior artists has emerged who need summer residences close to campus. A devoted Marlboro Music trustee and music-lover, Carol Colburn Grigor, stepped forward with a generous donation that brought that goal within reach, but they still needed a parcel of land to develop. When longtime friend and former trustee Holbrook Davis donated an 87-acre parcel to Marlboro College (The Marlboro Record, Fall 2012), the college in turn sold 20 acres to Marlboro Music for their project.

“From the outset, our hope and intention was that the new housing would also be of benefit to the college,” said Philip. Marlboro Music’s purchase of the land provided the college with an exclusive right to rent the cottages throughout the school year, for the use of visiting faculty or fellows, continuing the remarkable 64-year collaboration between the two institutions.

Marlboro Music selected architects from the Minnesota-based firm HGA, who were taken by the old stone wall that ran through the land, by the mixed forest and canopy of trees, and by the simple country architecture that so uniquely defines the college campus. It became their goal to “reimagine” that architecture—and in particular the country cape style—for the new housing. Considerable thought was given to the placement of the five units, so that each would “tread lightly on the forest,” have privacy, afford lovely views, and be oriented around that old stone wall. Courtland Construction, local contractor, built the housing in time for the start of Marlboro Music’s summer 2014 season. 

“All of us at the Music School are very grateful to our donor for her amazing generosity,” said Philip. “We are grateful also for the help of the college, and for the cooperation and good will of our Marlboro neighbors and town and state representatives in making this wonderful new project possible. We look forward to many decades of productive use of the housing by the music school and the college, and hope that they will help to inspire in others an appreciation of elegance and simplicity of design, and respect for the history and natural beauty of Vermont that mean so much to all of us who share this beautiful hilltop.”

Other Cottages Get Upgrades

While Marlboro Music artists are content to spend their summer in college apartments, cabins, and houses, a few amenities are always welcome. In return for adding additional years to their summer lease, the music school agreed to undertake some major renovations on the residences used by senior artists. Using the same contractor who built the new cottages, the music school replaced bathrooms and kitchens, and added new windows and lights in a number cottages.

“We have been very pleased by the results, and heard similar reactions from college administrators and students,” said Philip Maneval, Marlboro Music manager. “This work was but one example of how the close continuing relationship between what President Ellen McCulloch-Lovell describes as ‘the two Marlboros’ is of benefit to both institutions.”