The deadline of March 31 is looming over the old/new Penmar. I am making my appeal before it is too late.
I remember well the days of the old Pen-Hi and its auditorium.
Yes, it was old, it had its shortcomings, but it had two important attributes: it could seat over 700 people and, most importantly, it had very good acoustics. Its demolition was, in my opinion, one of the biggest blunders the school board of the day and the city have made, and the community let it happen.
Being a more or less regular patron of the Okanagan Symphony concerts and the performances put on by the Community Concert Association, I reflect on the unhappy period of these concerts being held at various inadequate venues in town, during the renovations of the Community Centre. Now, with the Cleland back in operation, one wonders about the reasons for too many empty seats at these concerts.
How much of it is due to the acoustics being so dismal?
I also remember the excitement of planning and the anticipation of building a new Performing Arts Centre. Lots of people put a great deal of effort into it and I applaud.
But, a few years down the road it is still only a dream and will remain so for many years to come.
The Penmar Community Arts Society is trying to resurrect the old theatre. Please visit their web site at penmar.ca and refresh your memory, or learn about the planned and partly executed project and what a valuable asset to the community it could be.
I am not trying to make any comparisons between the planned Performing Arts Centre and the resurrected Penmar. They cannot be compared. But during the years of waiting for a new Performing Arts Centre, and even beyond, the Penmar would serve many needs of the community.
We could have an auditorium with near 1,000 seat capacity and engineered acoustics. We have two movie theatres.
Future programming will be up to us, but I hope we can bring in movies with more artistic value than the blockbusters currently in vogue. It all can happen.
We are so very close to a crucial point of opening the doors, which will launch a new chapter in the efforts of the society: generation of revenue, grant funding etc.
So many individuals, businesses and organizations have contributed to this project and it is all threatened, if we do not open the doors. And that means we need to raise some more money.
It may seem callous to ask for financial contributions now, particularly when other big fundraising drives are ongoing. The Penmar Community Arts Society needs only a modest financial support.
Read more about it and if you can afford it, make a contribution either as a donation, or in the form of a pledge which will not be cashed, unless the fundraising is successful and we do open the doors. Any amount, from $2 up. A tax receipt will be issued for a contribution over $50.
Together we can move beyond the dream.