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Ipswich Street Topping Out Ceremony

Ipswich Street Topping Out Ceremony

On Friday, October 18, 2013 the Topping Out Ceremony took place for the Ipswich Street Project. This exciting milestone in Boston Conservatory history marks a midpoint of the project at 132 Ipswich St.

Located across from Fenway Park, just 1,000 feet from the school’s main building at 8 The Fenway and clearly visible from the Massachusetts Turnpike, the new building at 132 Ipswich Street will house crucial new teaching and studio work space to accommodate the long-term needs of the Conservatory as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2017.

When completed, the new space will house a large orchestra rehearsal hall, new dance studios and instructional and student service areas.

Richard Ornter, President, The Boston Conservatory, made the opening remarks and was followed by words from Alfred D. Houston, Chairman, The Board of Trustees, The Boston Conservatory; Anthony Pangaro, Trustee, The Boston Conservatory; and Randy Catlin, Project Executive, Shawmut Design and Construction.

After the speeches, all participants were encouraged to sign the beam.

The “Topping Out” ceremony predates steel-frame buildings by about 1,200 years, when Scandinavians “topped off” the construction of new halls with sheathes of grain for their god, Odin. The deity, supposedly impressed with the consideration, bestowed good luck on the future occupants. While customs were mixed and merged throughout colonial Europe, the ceremony was modified by some tree-worshipping pagan tribes. The Germans substituted small evergreen trees for sheathes of grain, a tradition that eventually reached America via immigrant Norwegian iron workers, who added their own twist to the ceremony by also hoisting an American flag. 


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