School Unveils New Performing Arts Center

Hosts new band rooms and recording studios


Photo By Luke Richards

Music Director Josh Murray (third from left), Principal Brian Ginter (second from right) and district officials cut the ribbon to officially open the new theater.

Luke Richards, Staff Writer

The new theater is finally here. This brand new addition to the Rio campus is one of the nicest facilities in the district. It is also the first big renovation our campus has seen in decades. Many activities have already taken place in the theater, including College Night and Smamble Night.

“It will benefit our Band Program, performing in an acoustically sound area and being able to have all the people who watch them actually be seated and enjoy the performance rather than being crammed into a room,” Principal Brian Ginter said.

This state of the art facility will highlight not only the fantastic Band Program, but will also house performances for the English and Theatre Departments. “It will give opportunities for our English Department and Theatre Department to put on plays or other activities that would otherwise have to be held outside or in a different location,” Ginter said.

For example, the Pops Concert, which in the past had been held outside, can now be held in the new auditorium. No burning sun, rain or cold weather to worry about anymore.

This theater project has been a long time in the making. It has been talked about since Mr. Faniani led the band program many years ago. Mr. Murray has also been pushing for this project for the 20 years he has been here. Parents and students have been huge proponents of this project as well, and slowly but surely, they helped to push the dream along. When Measure N passed in 2013, their dream was suddenly closer to becoming a reality.

With the theaters completion, new music classes are being offered. Mr. Kiesner is currently teaching two new classes, Keyboard and Beginning Piano. String Orchestra is also a new course this year. The theater will open up many new opportunities and a lot of brand new classes.

The facility’s main attraction is the brand new 350 seat theatre with amazing acoustics, but there is a lot more to the building than just the auditorium. There is a beautiful Steinway grand piano in the performance space of the auditorium, two next-generation music classrooms and four new practice rooms/recording studios for the students use.

The opening night was a huge success, with guests ranging from alumni to current students, members of the school board, and the current Superintendent of SJUSD. After the ribbon-cutting and tour of the new facility, the AM Jazz Ensemble performed to abundant cheers from the audience.