Brian Lamping, PAC faculty coordinator; Scott Bean, instrumental director; Scott Paeplow, choral director; and Bill Tepas, alumni coordinator, look forward to the renovation of the performance hall at Cardinal O’Hara High School.
For the past eight years, Cardinal O’Hara High School in Tonawanda has been conducting extensive renovation projects. The latest installment is the revitalization of the school’s performing arts center. On Friday, Feb. 10, the school will hold a benefit concert to raise money for the renovations.
“It is the jewel of the campus,” said Bill Tepas, Cardinal O’Hara’s alumni coordinator.
The performing arts center was originally built in 1966 and designed similar to Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, which is known for its excellent acoustics.
“Somebody had a very good plan to add what they called a theater back then,” Tepas said. “It’s incredible.”
The school hopes to use the money from the concert to cover the estimated $70,000 to $80,000 needed to make the planned renovations. The performing arts center, which has 900 seats, needs new carpeting, a new soundboard, a new electrical board and new wooden floors, in addition to other repairs.
“The auditorium in its present state is a beautiful place, but if you investigate further it is in need of repair,” said Tepas.
The February concert will feature The BBC Band, a local group “dedicated to capturing the original sound of the Beatles and ’60s music.” Tickets are $20 and a cash bar and food will be available to concertgoers.
The school began making changes in 2003, starting with the gym. Since then, they have renovated the admissions office and alumni courtyard, added a weight room, Mac lab, SMART boards, Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame, and replaced the light fixtures, in addition to several other projects.
“Over the past eight years, Cardinal O’Hara has made a concerted effort to upgrade the entire school,” Tepas said.
The auditorium has always been on the agenda, explained Renee Orr, director of advancement for the school.
The renovation coincides with two major changes for the school’s arts programs. The school recently reinstated both the choral and band programs.
“Both programs have come a long way,” Orr said. “They compete at the highest level with other schools.”
In addition, the arts are now mandatory for all Cardinal O’Hara students. During their freshman year, students have the choice of taking band, chorus or art. The school also offers dance.
The school currently uses the performing arts center for graduation, their Christmas program, Greccio, and the school play. The school also makes the center available to other organizations, including the Catholic Men’s Fellowship and the Charter School for Applied Technologies.
To purchase tickets for the concert, contact the advancement office at 716-695-2600 ext. 312 or visit www. cardinalohara.com.
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