Ceremonial Groundbreaking Previews Community Performing Arts Center

Posted: June 6, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Patty Snellings

Musical and vocal performances mark tomorrow’s ceremonial groundbreaking for the Community Performing Arts Center at the Prince William Campus.

The two-year construction phase is expected to begin next winter.

William Reeder, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, will serve as master of ceremonies for this lively community event that begins at 10:30 a.m.

Along with Alan Merten, Mason president, other scheduled speakers are Virginia Sen. Charles Colgan; Sean Connaughton, Prince William Board of County Supervisors chair; Marvin Gillum, former Manassas mayor; Kathleen Seefeldt, former Prince William Board of County Supervisors chair; and Douglas Waldron, Manassas mayor.

Vocal performances will be presented by recent Mason graduates Sequina Dubose and Jennifer Schlechte, and Breh Stevens Mitchell from the Woodbridge Creative and Performing Arts Center.

A variety of music genres will be performed by The Radford Brothers, a local bluegrass band; the Brentsville District High School Jazz Band; and the Miles Stiebel Herald Trumpets.

The $36 million, 96,000-square-foot center is a collaborative venture between the university, the city of Manassas and Prince William County.

Ongoing community fundraising efforts are led by the Partnership and Development Committee, the campaign committee for the project.

Co-chaired by Seefeldt and Gillum, the committee has a goal to create a $15 million endowment and a $1 million annual fund for operating expenses.

Income from the endowment will subsidize free use of the center for local schools and ensure affordable ticket prices for arts patrons.

“We are extremely gratified to see that individuals, small businesses, large corporations and foundations are enthusiastically participating in this effort,” Seefeldt says.

“We have received gifts from $25 up to seven figures. There truly is a place for everyone in this campaign.”

Major gifts received to date include leadership support from Buchanan Partners LLC; Carol Merchant Kirby and Peter Kirby; Lockheed Martin Corp.; Marvin and Jana Yeates; Dominion; Marvin and Martha Gillum; W.T. Merchant Jr.; Alan and Sally Merten, Micron Technology Inc.; Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative; Creston and Sharon Owen; Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian PC; and Vulcan Materials Co.

The Community Performing Arts Center will be a first-class venue for outstanding professional performances, a resource for community arts groups and an educational facility for students of all ages.

In its first decade of operation, the center is expected to add $70 million in increased economic activity in the Manassas and Prince William region through new jobs; locally purchased materials and services; ticket, restaurant and hotel expenditures; and tax revenue.

“The center will be home to the Prince William Symphony, the Youth Orchestras of Prince William, the Manassas Dance Company and the Gray Ghost Theatre Company,” Reeder says.

“The growth in the Prince William area demonstrates a dynamic arts market that desires world-class venues and internationally acclaimed artists.”

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