Donors feed soul of creative musicians

By Steve Seepersaud

For Edgar Levy '84, the love of music — guitars, in particular — has spanned his lifetime. When he's not making music, he's in the shed building and restoring new and old guitars for himself and others. As a student at Binghamton, he spent countless hours in the Broome Closet, a practice room tucked away on the ground floor of Newing College's old Broome Hall.

"Music was always a sanctuary type thing for me," said Levy, who managed the space during his junior year. "I loved being able to de-stress and put everything else on hold and play music. The place really fed the soul of creative musicians. All of us who used the room had a bond. We had music and creativity in common."

His fondness for the Broome Closet never faded, and he's passionate about wanting other students to experience the same sense of community. Levy worked with the Office of Residential Life to design and plan the revitalization of the Broome Closet, which was completed in January. The project was made possible by donors who gave to the Binghamton Fund for Excellence.

When the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center opened in 2011, it had space dedicated for music practice. However, many people said the acoustics were undesirable. Levy thought this would be an opportunity for alumni to make an impact.

"This project was originally going to be just acoustic panels," Levy said. "My analogy is that when you paint your house, you paint the walls and realize you also need to update the carpets and curtains. So, we put the panels in, repainted and there's an electric piano. There's also a number of floor-to-ceiling banners with photos of alumni from many years and I think that's great because it connects the past to the present day."

Today, the Broome Closet is used by casual musicians seeking to find the same sort of escape from studying that Levy had experienced, as well as some of the University's a cappella groups.

Levy, who lives in the Raleigh, N.C., area, where he founded and led the Alumni Association's chapter during his time on the association board, looks forward to returning to Binghamton for Homecoming, and seeing the enhanced Broome Closet in person for the first time.

"I'm thrilled the University found this to be a worthwhile project," Levy said. "When I was a student, Binghamton wasn't a school known far and wide for music. To have a space like this, and have so many creative people using it, was really special and unique, and we were very fortunate."