The grand opening proved to be a spectacular event filled with prestigious guests from the San Bernardino community. Attendees enjoyed a reception with food, drinks and the music of a string quartet. They then gathered at the front of the new 16,000-square foot building for a ribbon cutting ceremony and a blessing by Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Rutilio del Riego.
Attendees were then invited inside for a series of entertaining performances. A group of youth performed the Wizard of Oz, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians bird singers performed, a comedian brought laughter to the new building and several other students danced and played instruments. It was a true glimpse into the future of the Center, which was funded through generous donations from the J.F. Shea Foundation and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
Aquinas High School now has the ability to partner with the greater San Bernardino community through the new addition of the San Manuel Performing Arts Center. Local theater groups and traveling music groups have booked the center and others have taken interest in using it.
“Students and youth around the community have a new place to express their artistic ability,” Aquinas President Dr. Jim Brennan said. “There are a wide variety of possibilities.”
The PAC seats 336 people. There is a lobby, ticket booth and snack bar upon entry. As you enter the theater from the left or the right double doors you are greeted by stairs, seats, and a large stage. The PAC houses a band room, an orchestra pit, two state of the art dressing rooms, a scene shop and a loading dock.
The Aquinas Performing Arts Academy is thrilled with the new addition. Each of the four strands: theater, music, visual and digital arts will utilize the PAC on December 14th for their Winter Showcase. The theater students will perform “Murder Can be Habit Forming” December 7-9.