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Letter to the editor


New arts center needed, reader says



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November 24, 2010 - Dear Editor,

In response to "Time marches on" column by editor Phil Custodio, Nov. 17, about the proposed Clarkston Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA) in downtown Clarkston.

I write this having just come from the funeral for a wonderful 94-year-old aunt. Fifty years ago she was as vital and vibrant as ever, but time takes it toll and she just wore out. Fortunately, her soul and spirit lives on.

Next year, both the Clarkston Conservatory of Music (CCM) and the Clarkston Village Players (CVP) celebrate 50 years of helping our community celebrate many forms of the arts, and have found a special place in our hearts.

Although they have functioned in the same facilities for most of those years, everything wears out sometime even as the spirit lives on.

CCM occupies a historic home on Main Street downtown. Its leaders and supporters have worked diligently over the years to make the building as flexible as possible, particularly as its usage has grown. One result is that the building has reached its capacity for service.

For example, other facilities have had to be used for years for recitals and similar events, requiring the movement and retuning of a concert piano after each move. And there is increasing need for more practice facilities than this building can accommodate.

CVP occupies the historic train depot on White Lake Road, along the railroad tracks two miles from the center of Clarkston. Over the years, energy, effort, and money have been invested in converting the building to make it into as comfortable and functional as possible for various kinds of theatrical productions.

However, CVP owns the building but not the land on which it sits. In fact, the building straddles a line which separates two parcels of land with two different owners.

Some CVP members fear the day when a train may jump the track and wipe out the building and, perhaps, some occupants as happened in Springfield Township nine years ago. Also, separate facilities are used for rehearsals, when plays are in session, and for storage of sets, costumes, etc. And parking for events is a serious problem.

For years both CCM and CVP have sought other locations and means to move due to their various increased needs. About three years ago, representatives of the two organizations began conversations concerning how they might cooperate and coordinate some of their operational needs into a centrally located facility. Plans for CCPA grew out of those conversations.

The proposed CCPA building and location will compliment the character of the community, will not be visible from Main Street or Depot Park, and will not replace the current CCM and CVP buildings which will be used and maintained.

It will provide a compact building which is conveniently located, includes an appropriately intimate, 120-seat auditorium, including "fly space" above the stage for curtains, sets, lights, etc., additional music tutorial rooms, significant storage space, dressing rooms, restrooms, an elevator, and a "gallery," where visual art can be displayed. It is designed to provide a significant means of promoting all forms of performing and visual arts, with easy parking for visitors, and in walking distance for the residents of Clarkston.

The proposed Clarkston Center for the Performing Arts is intended to keep soul and spirit of arts in the city for at least the next 50 years.

Tom Stone

Clarkston

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