Pleasanton Weekly

News - September 24, 2010

Hundreds turn out for formal gala, public event to open Firehouse Arts Center

Performances already under way as fall program starts

by Jeb Bing

Hundreds turned out last Friday and Saturday for ceremonies celebrating the opening of the city's new $10 million downtown Firehouse Arts Center with the first in a series of major performances and musicals starting tonight.

A sold-out $125-a-ticket opening gala gave those at the dressy Friday night event a chance to tour the facility and hear special musical presentations in the center's 227-seat flexible theater. Many women wore evening gowns and men donned tuxedos for one of the few formal theater functions in Pleasanton.

On Saturday, it was a more casual crowd that filled the seats and much of the outdoor standing area. Speakers from the Pleasanton Civic Arts Commission and Firehouse Arts Center, as well as Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) and State Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-10th), praised Pleasanton for its architecturally stunning complex. Mayor Jennifer Hosterman cut the ribbon about mid-morning as the Firehouse Arts Center opened to the public.

The complex, which is located at 4444 Railroad Ave. at the end of Division Street, just a one-block walk from Main Street and downtown Pleasanton, will be open daily. An architectural blend of modern design combined with part of the old historic fire station built in 1929 makes the arts center representative of old and new Pleasanton in one building. A donors wall in the main lobby honors those who have made major contributions to the center; a brick courtyard outside contains the names of more than 200 donors of firehouse bricks.

The first major city-sponsored event was scheduled to take place last night with a special free performance by the Pleasanton Community Concert Band for the Sister City delegation from Tulancingo, Mexico.

Then a full season of entertainment kicks off tonight with performances by master jazz guitarist Earl Klugh. Tomorrow, celebrated composer musician Mose Allison will perform, with award-winning pianist Evelyne Brancart in a Chopin piano concert performing on Sunday.

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