Four years into a very successful start, it is time to sell another round of seats to ensure the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre can continue to serve Oak Bay and the school district’s live arts community.
In its first fundraising campaign the “The Keys to Success” Oak Bay Piano Committee sold 107 seats and raised more than $125,000 through benefit concerts and Oak Bay High Alumni donations. It helped secure the $100,000-plus seven-foot Steinway Concert Grand from Tom Lee Music which now has a permanent home on-stage at Dunnet theatre (thanks to a generous, interest-free deferred payment plan for the remaining balanced of $31,383. 25).
Seats are $450 apiece (minimum suggestion).
“Having a well-equipped theatre has offered a huge advantage to our musical theatre students and offered opportunities they didn’t have before,” said Steven Price, who has led the Oak Bay musical theatre program for 14 years and now manages the theatre.
Grade 12 student Brandon Kim, who is headed to the Univeristy of Victoria to study music this fall, said there is no comparison playing on the Steinway.
“The sound that comes off this piano is amazing, it’s just such a big, natural sound that works so well with the great acoustics of this [theatre],” Kim said.
The Dunnet facility has not only upgraded Oak Bay High’s musical theatre program but also serves the community, and also to schools in the school district who wish to use it (and at a modest rate. For example, South Park elementary will use the theatre for two dates next week to host their biennual all-school production.
Monies raised will go towards completing the purchase of the piano, insuring the piano, towards theatre maintenance and towards systems such as the closed circuit television camera that was recently installed and used for former mayor Nils Jensen’s memorial service, also held in the Dunnet theatre.
“It was timely to have it ready for that,” Price said. “I can state without a doubt the theatre wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Jensen.”
Keys to Success have plans for a “big name” celebratory concert in 2021.
Another legacy fund, the Sno’uyutth Legacy Scholarship, is now supporting three Indigenous students at University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University. The Sno’uyutth Legacy Scholarship grew out of excess funds raised by the Community Association of Oak Bay for their $100,000 Sno’uyutth Pole Project.
Sno’uyutth means “spreading good energy” in Lekwungen, the language of the Indigenous people who lived along the banks of Oak Bay’s Bowker Creek and local beaches for thousands of years. The Sno’uyutth spirit informs the piano committee’s efforts.
To sponsor a Dave Dunnet theatre seat in your name, a business or family member’s name, or the name of a loved piano teacher, sending $450, to Oak Bay Rotary Foundation C/O Rod Sim at 2187, Oak Bay Ave., V8R 1G1, or call 250-595-1500 for more information.
Additional details are available at www.davedunnet.ca.