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Cone Auditorium: More Than a Room

Hi CAC friends — Rachel Brackins here. Since 2016 it’s been my job as the Communications Director to share a wide array of stories with you. In some articles we’ve looked back and soaked in the Mustang Mountain nostalgia, while in others we’ve celebrated the accomplishments of current students, teachers and alumni. This one is going to be a little bit of both. 

In October 1990 the final floor plan for Cone Auditorium was approved. 844 total chairs, a control room, a stage. Carpet, paint, lights. Construction began and material was sent out encouraging CAC families and alumni to sponsor the new seats that were going to be installed. This was the early ‘90s, so everything was written by hand, then typed and stapled together to be filed away in a tabbed manila folder. Lucky for us. Hundreds of seats, hundreds of people. Were you one of them? Did you place a plaque on an armrest that lasted for over 25 years? Take a look — you might see some familiar names.

In May 2019 the final floor plan for the Cone Auditorium renovation was approved. 800 total chairs, a control room, a stage. New carpet, new paint, new lights. Material was sent out encouraging CAC families and alumni to sponsor the new seats that were going to be installed. (Haven’t done that yet? Click Here. More on that later.) On Thursday, September 26, chapel was held in the renovated space for the first time. It was beautiful to see hundreds of Secondary Campus students worshipping in a space they had patiently awaited for so long. I heard one senior say, “It felt like coming home — like walking into my living room for the first time in a long time.” I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make me tear up.

I know it’s just an auditorium. I know it’s just a room with walls and lights and concrete flooring and wooden risers in the back. I know they are just seats and cushions and armrests. All of that was true in 1990 and it’s all still true in 2019. Want to know what else is true? Thousands of students have entered that room — that room with its walls and lights and concrete flooring and wooden risers in the back. Thousands of students have sat in those seats, on those cushions, used those armrests. And they aren’t just students. They are our students.

For the past quarter of a century, students have filled that room. 

Some sleeping, some wide awake. Some listening to a devotional, some studying for a test next period. They’ve sat in those seats the day after a significant athletic loss. The day after winning a state championship. The day they found out they were going to college, made the honor roll, got the lead in the spring musical. 

Some held hands, sitting in those seats, for the very first time. Some saw the true love of Christ on full display. Heard a chapel devotional that changed the course of their life. Realized that teachers have their own stories to tell. Saw someone cry. Cried themselves. Sang a new song. Stood in silence as students sang around them.

Some have sat watching as their friend stood in front of a room full of students, vulnerable and honest. 

Mourning and celebration. Confusion and clarity. 
It happens in that room. In those seats. On that stage. 

So, yes. It’s just a room. But I learned as I looked back on 30 years of faded, yellowing CAC history, that what happens inside Cone Auditorium transcends the color of the carpet or the cushions. When CAC gets together in a room the love of Christ is evident. Every time. Again and again and again. We are thankful to have a space that means so much to so many people. 

I’ve been employed at CAC for three years (working on four) and I count myself incredibly lucky to witness and take part in the remarkable things happening here. Maybe in 25 years the Communications Director will sift through the Save Us a Seat Google Drive files and Excel spreadsheets silently thanking those names who invested in CAC’s future, just like I did.   

Thanks to those of you who have already sponsored a seat. If haven’t yet, but you’d like to, Click Here to fill out the form.