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The 44,000-square-foot, $16 million facility will have a main theater with seating for 450, a ‘black box’ teaching theater with about 130 seats, a dance studio and large rooms for orchestra, band and choral groups.

A ray of diving light for St. Margaret's enters the new performing arts center.

By DAVID BRO / SPECIAL TO THE REGISTER

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO- (CA)- St. Margaret’s Episcopal School Headmaster Marcus Hurlbut, who oversees 1,240 students across preschool, primary, middle and upper divisions, says he feels blessed that only a small family of skunks has managed to interrupt the school’s construction of a 44,000-square-foot performing-arts center on its San Juan Capistrano campus.

“The construction superintendent got chased out of the building one night by the skunks,” Hurlbut said. “We are sure they are still living on the campus somewhere … we have quite a nocturnal population.”

St. Margaret’s 44,000-square-foot performing-arts center is scheduled for completion in May.
DAVID BRO, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

At a time when many segments of education, business and government are cutting back, St. Margaret’s students, parents and supporters have responded to the theater project with a can-do attitude, Hurlbut said. “We’re building, and we have people who buy into it – literally.”

When completed at the end of May, the new facility is to have a main theater with seating for 450, a more intimate “black box” teaching theater with about 130 seats, a dance studio and large rooms for orchestra, band and choral groups.

SEE A SLIDE SHOW HERE.

School arts director Darcy Rice said the center will feature 11 soundproof practice rooms for tutoring and instruction in a design in which even the lobby will be put to work showing off students’ artwork.

“St. Margaret’s values the arts, and for students, it’s essential that it’s studied.” Rice said. “The faculty works hard so that students are in some way touched by the arts. We want students to be artistically involved … to experience art.”

It all starts here.

For students in behind-the-scenes roles such as stage design and prop building, a large shop, work area and scenery storage room will sit alongside a costume-making room for the school’s productions and a rental program in which St. Margaret’s provides costumes for other productions across the county.

On Monday afternoon, workers assembled metal-framed free-floating “clouds” which, when installed high above the main stage and lined with wood, will have electric controls used to “tune” and enhance sound according to the performance.

Details like that, as well as a central audio control room where students will be able to record with professional quality, bring the price tag for the center close to $16 million and the construction time to more than a year.

Practice makes perfect.

Hurlbut said the center, contracted to Torrance-based Del Amo Construction, is on schedule and on budget.

Though St. Margaret’s expects to get the keys to the new building in May, the school will spend the summer afterward moving in. It has not set a firm schedule for productions. Hurlbut and Rice hope to work in community events as well as school performances.

“We’re not sure exactly what it will be yet, but I know it will be good,” Hurlbut said.

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Robert Cray at the 11th Annual Doheny Blues Festival last Saturday.

I was sent by the Orange County Register to shoot snapshots of the crowd at the 11th Annual Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point.  I went last Saturday, the 17th, and was really surprised by how many people attended.  I have my press pass and so after some checking I got in and went to work.

 

The best part of the whole thing was just seeing everyone getting along and having a good time.  I like all types of music and although I wouldn’t pay to get into any venue just to listen to the music like at Doheny, I could appreciate the fact that there is good reason to do it if you are into it. 

 

There was the usual parade of drunks and those folks that seem to be always out to over ambitiously dress and call attention to themselves but, all in all it was really laid back.  I had been thinking that I was not going to get assigned the shoot and had applied for an independent press pass which the event company never got back to me about.  After seeing the routine, I could see why; they had their hands full and although it wasn’t poorly organized there were some shaggy parts here and there.  I think trying your best counts for a lot and they really tried to pull it off and I think it was a success and getting better every year.

 

When ever I go on a shoot I really concentrate and so I was not paying too much attention to the music.  Mostly looking through the crowd from the point of view of the performer, I shot people, couples and kids enjoying the music.  When I was done, I sat checking my images to make sure I had my shots and was able to listen to Robert Cray a little bit.  I had never heard of him and really only remember him now as I had to include his name in a photo caption that I sent in. 

 

He has a great voice with tremendous emotion, in addition to playing the guitar really well.  I think, as he sang the words to his songs, he really meant it and the crowd was into it as well.  At one point his guitar failed and it seems the audio in general did as well.  He just kept on going, doing his thing; the mark of a true professional.  The roadie brought out a new one; he smiled, acknowledged the crowd with a shy smile and continued on as if he was in his own backyard playing just for himself.

 

I ended up at his website the other day to see if I could find out anymore about him and after looking at his schedule, decided there was nothing more to see.  He is busy all the time and just goes from one gig to another.  I wondered what that must be like and what he is like when he takes a break.  Just another job I guess.

 

 

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/festival-doheny-sunday-2047226-blues-music?slideshow=1

 

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