PACC Opening Draws Donors, Alumni and Other Guests

On Saturday, GSB celebrated the grand opening of the new Performing Arts & Community Center (PACC) with more than 400 guests in attendance. The event began with a donor reception in the FM Kirby Hall and Gallery, which was followed by a special concert in the Matthews Theater. The concert brought together alumni of the GSB Players and present-day student performers to reprise songs from GSB musicals past. More than 55 alumni, representing three decades of musicals at the school, returned to campus for the event.
Before the performance, Head of School Sid Rowell welcomed the guests and introduced Ann and Doug Matthews, who chaired the campaign for the PACC, and Adrienne and Dillard Kirby, past parents and representatives the F.M. Kirby Foundation of Morristown. In addition to being benefactors of the new building, both families had graduates performing in the evening’s concert: Caty ’16 and Amity ’18 Matthews, and Stark Kirby ’13.
The concert was arranged and conducted by Performing Arts Chair Paul H. Canada, who began planning the concert over the summer. Alumni worked on their parts individually and then met up with current GSB Players on the morning before the performance to rehearse. Bringing together more than 80 vocalists on stage, the concert highlighted generations of student performers who, under Canada’s direction, helped build the critically-acclaimed theater program at GSB. The performance was also a perfect expression of thanks to our donors—many of whom were in the audience—whose generosity and commitment to the arts at GSB helped make the PACC a reality.
Among the evening’s other highlights, Lee Amoroso, P ’11, ’13, ’19, longtime supporter of the arts at GSB, announced that the classroom in the PACC had been named in honor of Canada. The gift was made possible by the generosity of many families. Speaking on behalf of the alumni performers, Shannon Ludlum ’03, also offered thanks to the administration, the donors, and to Canada.
Construction on the PACC began in the spring of 2017 and was completed in early November of this year. The building features a 450-seat auditorium with a 40’(l)x37’(d)x18’(h) stage and an orchestra pit, scene shop, costume shop, dressing rooms, a classroom, a lobby and gallery area, and a box office. In addition to student productions and concerts, the PACC will be used for guest speakers, assemblies, and a range of other performances.

A gallery of images from the event is available on our Facebook page.
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a rigorous, meaningful, and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.