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Chapman breaks ground on $64 million arts center

A ceremony includes comments from Chapman officials and Los Angeles Opera Director Placido Domingo

by Scott McCourtneyPublished: September 07, 2012 08:45 AM

L to R: Chapman President James L. Doti,
Marybelle Musco, Placido Domingo,
Paul Musco, and College of Performing
Arts Dean William Hall
Chapman University in Orange broke ground yesterday on a new performing arts center on campus, a $64 million project that aims to rank among Southern California’s premier concert and performance halls. At a ceremony to mark the start of construction, Chapman officials announced that the Musco Center for the Arts will benefit both the campus and the surrounding community as a venue for performance, instruction and the arts.

The 1,050-seat Musco will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for the Chapman orchestra and theater department, as well as amenities for other events and uses, including the city of Orange.

Dr. William Hall, Dean of Chapman University's College of Performing Arts, started off the ceremony marking the groundbreaking, which was filled with costumed student performers in and lots of heat from the sun. One student in particular was dressed as a Shakespeare’s Henry V. Dr. Hall briefly commended the many donors who made the project possible, including principal contributors S. Paul and Marybelle Musco, who lend their name to the structure. He also thanked Bill Murray of Pfeiffer Partners Architects, which designed the center, and Yasuhisa (Yasu) Toyota, who will design the center’s unique acoustics. Toyota’s portfolio of work includes many famous music halls around the world, such as L.A.’s Disney Concert Hall and Australia’s Sydney Opera House.

Dr. Hall then handed over the podium to the Chapman University President James L. Doti. He thanked the Muscos and told a wonderful story of their background and work in the Orange County area. He also thanked the many other donors who made the center possible. However the day was not really about donors but the beauty of the campus and wonders of the arts.

“Not only will the Musco bring great music [to Chapman and Orange County], but it will be training the future generations that will make it possible to continue to bring great music to the lives, hearts and minds right here in Orange County,” Doti said.

Other speakers at the event included former Chapman theater student Alex David speaking of his time at the university, and comments from Paul and Marybelle Musco.

Before the ceremonial platinum shovels were handed out with confetti bursting over the stage to mark the ground breaking itself, artistic director of the Los Angeles Opera, Placido Domingo, said some words. “I have spent my entire life in the performing arts and it is the single most important thing in world.” He also talked about the importance of the arts and maintaining a place for it in society, particularly in light of the current economy.

“There is never enough you can do for your community. California is one of the greatest states with a great future in the arts… People gather for the arts to live in a magical world and to be one, no religion, no race, just the arts of music and acting.”

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