Performing Arts Center
By Lallette Kistler
January 14, 2009
Music and dancing! I remember those happy days (nights) at the
Fireside. Wouldn't you like to have them again? We can. Help
bring song and dance back to the Fireside in a way that the entire
family can enjoy, by supporting the Performing Arts Center project.
Downtown is the perfect place for a performing arts center.
Most performance events take place during the evening hours
when parking is not an issue, and during summer days, cruise
ship visitors can use the space for meeting and performance space.
This town sorely needs another performance arena. The High School
stage was supposed to be a community facility, but it's become
a sad joke. Very few dates are available since the space cannot
be booked during High School activities. The cost is unaffordable
for all but the largest of productions, and smaller productions
are forced to cram into local churches.
The Community Chorus has been producing some beautiful concerts
with full chorus and orchestra, but it has been difficult having
to perform in small venues. Renting the high school is financially
out of the question, and the only thing left is a church. The
chorus has been bringing in guest musicians that can only stay
for the week-end. With time constrains, the small venue, and
the need to cover extra expenses, back-to-back performances are
necessary, which is utterly exhausting for singers.
The First City Players has been homeless since it was ejected
from the Main Street Theater over a decade ago. How it continues
is a mystery, and a testament to its importance in this community.
They had been using the Plaza for rehearsals and small productions,
but were recently forbidden, on short notice, to rehearse large
groups after 8:00pm. It's a wonder the fall musical ever came
off. Unable to practice on the big stage until a week before
the performance, large group numbers, which were crammed into
a church basement, were not fully staged until the last minute,
another exhausting marathon for performers.
Even with the ordeals of rehearsal and performance space, the
arts thrive in Ketchikan. The First City Players is the second
most active group in the country for a city of this size. They
have been making due, but are near a breaking point. Ketchikan
is a highly regarded arts community. No doubt, because of the
dark rainy nights that entice artistic diversion. Those children
and adults who are not into competitive sports need something
to do! Dancing, singing, playing an instrument and acting are
great activities that not only enrich the participant but also
the audience. Thousands of local audience members can attest
I know of one local resident who fell in love with Ketchikan
and jumped (cruise) ship to run a local business. Wouldn't it
be nice to have a testament to our vibrant performing arts right
down town for visitors to see? The hospital is always looking
for skilled nurses and doctors. Have you ever noticed how many
doctors and other professionals play in the community band?
These kinds of things are important to them. Let's put Ketchikan
on the map and become not only a visitor destination, but a residential
destination, an artistic destination.
Please support a performing arts center at the old Fireside building.
If we can get seed money from cruise ship funds, other grants
will fall into place. We will never find a more perfect venue.
As a performance arena, the building is worth more than twice
as much as it s going for. Let's snatch it up before it is wasted!
Received January 11, 2009 -
Published January 14, 2009
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