In 1931, a Spanish dance performed by Carola Goya was the first University Entertainment Series performance to grace the stage of Memorial Hall. It was the beginning of a robust history of commissioned and curated performing arts at UNC. From 1931 to 2002, the job of programming those performances was in the hands of the Carolina Union.
Over time, there were several complaints about the sound quality and comfort level of Memorial Hall. One audience member wrote that she attended a show featuring a renowned musician who couldn’t even play his instrument properly. His fingers were too sweaty from the humidity in the room! Since 1931, Memorial Hall has undergone several changes and in 2005, after a three-year hiatus, the theater reopened.
Plans for the updated venue accompanied plans for a new performance presenting organization that would be called Carolina Performing Arts. In the newly minted position of Executive Director of the Arts, Emil Kang led the new organization into its 2005 inaugural season. Itzhak Perlman, Ronald K. Brown and Tony Bennett and the North Carolina Symphony were a few of the artists featured in CPA’s first year.
Plans and correspondence about the transformation of Memorial Hall and CPA’s inaugural season as well as ephemera from several Carolina Union performances are now available in the Carolina Performing Arts Records (#40428).
Items from the Carolina Performing Arts Records (#40428), University Archives