On Monday, Feb. 16, Pacific Opera Victoria (POV) officially opened The Baumann Centre, a new home for POV and for music-making in the community. The former Hall of the Church of St. John the Divine at 925 Balmoral Road in Victoria, B.C., has been re-designed to include a rehearsal and recital hall, an office suite, music room and public entrance.
“The inspiring generosity of many patrons and donors has made this Centre possible,” said POV Executive Director Patrick Corrigan. “The Baumann Centre is completely paid for with additional funds raised to create a new endowment fund and for working capital to support the expansion of our community programming and our long-term vision for community art-making, artist training, and youth education.”
More than 100 donors gathered in The Baumann Centre to celebrate the culmination of a nine-month, $2 million fundraising campaign and the official opening of the 7,000 square foot facility. Named for the late Victoria philanthropist and founder of Speedway Motors, Egon Baumann, lead donor through the Egon Baumann Music Foundation, the Centre will house opera rehearsals, artist training programs, and an array of initiatives to nurture artists, engage the community, and educate and delight families and youth.
The heart of The Baumann Centre is the Wingate Studio, a 2,500 square foot rehearsal and music making space. Wingate Studio is not only practical, but beautiful. A stunning acoustic ceiling canopy has been created and gifted to POV by Kwagiulth artist and former opera singer Carey Newman. The huge red-cedar installation features a central carved medallion that crowns the studio with exquisite artistry.
Funding for specialized lighting, sound and audiovisual recording equipment installed in the new opera centre was received from the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. “Our Government is pleased to support Pacific Opera Victoria,” said the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. “This centre will benefit everyone in the community as a place for creation, collaboration, innovation and performance. Congratulations on the official opening of this magnificent facility.”
POV will broaden public programming and artist training programs. “We’ll expand collaborative work with other organizations, and invite other performing arts groups to make good use of the space. We are just beginning to understand the opportunities it will afford us. It’s really an exciting time,” Corrigan added.