Friday July 23, 2010
The Culture Centre has everything including it's own version of Tin Pan Alley
Craig Hill/Voice photos
Workers put the finishing touches on the landscaping at the sparkling new Arts & Culture Centre.
t took 9-years of planning and fundraising and 1-year to build. Finally, the Chilliwack Arts & Culture Centre is ready to open it's doors.
Ten-years is a long time and when you consider that a decade is 3,650-days, you can get a sense of the anticipation that everyone involved in the project has for the Gala Opening Night September 25.
Last Thursday, while workers planted trees and put the finishing touches on landscaping in front of the $22-million 'Cultch' Centre, the Voice, along with members of Chilliwack's print media, were treated to a backstage tour of the sparkling new facility by Chilliwack Arts Council Centre Society Marketing Manager, Kelly Tebrinke.
The smell of fresh ink wafted up from the high-end presentation folders that Tebrinke handed out. Inside was technical data on the theater and information about their three fundraising programs.
KellyAnne TeBrinke, took media on a backstage tour Thursday.
The Centre puts the city on the map for for entertainment venues promising to draw in big names like Mickey Rooney, who's putting on a show, ironically called, Lets Put On A Show September 11 at 8pm.
It will cost $150 to get in the door on opening night and that includes a stand-up champagne reception with tapas and a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Sharon Gaetz.
Trebrinke was guarded with specific details about the Gala show which haven't been released, but she did say that it will be "on par with Broadway."
"For the lineup on the season, we're bringing in 18 shows from September until the end of April and that (information) should be released in the next week or two," she said. "We won't be doing so much theatre since so many people are away in the summer."
In the off-months, the Centre plans to use the fallow time for a summer session where the Arts Council will put on a couple of shows and different workshops along with the Chilliwack Players Guild who are the resident theatre company.
The Center has 18 studios and 17 of them will have baby grand pianos while others are specifically designed for percussion instruments.
Tin Pan Alley got it's name in New York behind East Fourteenth Street near Third. It was a spot where musicians played their hearts out in the studios that lined the alleyway. When people walked down it, there were always so many people playing at the same time that it sounded like a bunch of tin pans being banged.
In light of that, the building designers wanted the hallways at the Centre to "sound alive" like Tin Pan Alley, so they weren't insulated like the walls between the individual studios.
There are many art rooms you can get lost if you're not careful. It won't matter if people sew, knit, crochet, create floral arrangements or do print making, people will be able to get into it here. There'll also be a pottery room that will have 6-wheel stations. Additionally, the artist's rooms were designed to have as much northern light as possible.
An art gallery with ample room, good lighting, and adjustable wall mounted hangers will be available for public shows.
One of the big plusses in the building will be the no-wait women's washroom with 28 commodes installed.
There are 7 separate dressing rooms with internet access that can accommodate up to 16 performers at one time and a dance studio complete with a beautiful, spring-loaded wooden floor.
Another room with all the comforts of home including sofas, a fridge, stove and a shower that will be used by performers wanting to relax for a spell before or after a show.
The stage is 40-feet wide and 28-feet high and has a concrete base so that heavy objects, like vehicles, can be placed there without damaging it.
The sound system is superb with a 48-channel Yamaha mixing board and the main theatre has also been rigged for television broadcasting with state-of-the-art multi-coloured LED lighting which will illuminate the two stage areas.
The Rotary Club donated $100,000 for the construction of an additional multi-purpose stage called the Black Box Studio Theatre with 164 motorized seats that can be retracted. It will be very handy for performers who can practice prior to hitting the main stage.
The Arts Council and the Academy of Music own part of the building, they bought in with $1.5-million and another $20.5-million was collected through taxation and the Chilliwack Arts Council Centre Society will oversee the day-to-day operations at the facility.
There are three ongoing fundraising programs for individuals and business to take part in.
The first is an offer for companies to become a Naming Sponsor for one of the 100 or so rooms in the Centre with monetary commitments starting at $250 annually for 2-10 year terms.
The 500+ Seats program is for those who would like to have their name etched onto one arm of the more than 500-seats plush seats in the main Proscenium theatre. The cost for that is $500. Doing the math quickly that equals the princely sum of $500,000.
The final fundraising program is the 88 Key Club which will be raising money to pay for the concert grand piano with the price set at $1000/key.
The Centre expects numbers upwards of 40,000 people a year to patronize the facility and 54 staff will keep it a well-oiled machine.
The building is still a ways from being totally completed, however the wooden entrance wall will eventually be adorned with a logo depicting trees surrounding Chilliwack. Other walls will have metallic flakes embedded in the coating which will allow for posters to be hung and removed with ease, like fridge magnets.
On a final note, the Centre is looking for baby grand piano's if you have one you'd like to donate.
For more information on how you can help contact Kelly here.
Photo gallery below.
© Copyright (c) 2010 The Valley Voice
The end of the gallery. Thanks for looking.