Grossmont College’s new performing arts center set to step into the spotlight


After a long and silent break, live music will return to the Grossmont College campus.

El Cajon School will welcome concert fans this week to its brand new venue – the $ 44 million Grossmont College Performing and Visual Arts Center.

The multi-purpose theater, whose exterior is made of spectacular steel and glass with a sweeping roofline, has one of the largest stages in the county, an orchestra pit, a balcony, changing rooms, a hall green, a costume area and a make-up room. The center also serves as an educational venue for theater, dance and music programs and is home to the Hyde Art Gallery.

Grossmont will kick off its fall concert series in the 390-seat hall at 7:30 p.m. Thursday with a performance by the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and the Master Chorale. The group has been performing on Zoom and YouTube for over 18 months.

The hall was inaugurated on the front of the campus in 2017. Thursday’s concert is the first musical performance inside the PVAC and the second overall performance on the hall. A dance concert, “Breaking Boundaries,” the annual fall event hosted by the school’s dance department, was the first live event, held in November 2019. But then the shutdown of COVID-19 hit, and PVAC has been gloomy ever since.

“This 390-seat venue has been part of the original Grossmont College project since the early years,” said Music Director Randall Tweed. “It has been a long and arduous journey. This new facility is a huge step forward and being able to come back for rehearsals in person, even with social distancing and masking, has been great. “

Prior to the opening of the new performing arts center on campus, the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and Master Chorale performed for decades at Magnolia, the new name for the former East County Performing Arts Center in El Cajon. . The ensembles have also performed in several local churches.

The premier live music event in the PVAC will feature separate performances from the symphony’s brass and percussion, woodwind and string ensembles; the choral master; and a multimedia performance by the Grossmont Symphony Chamber Orchestra. In pre-pandemic times, the ensembles performed as one large orchestra, but due to Grossmont College’s COVID-19 protocols limiting the number of people in a room, Thursday’s performance will be halted, with each ensemble giving its own. own mini-concert.

The Grossmont Symphony Orchestra will perform again on October 28, then on December 2 and 10. Several other musical ensembles are also slated to perform this month at PVAC, including the Grossmont Guitar Ensemble conducted by Sean Bassett and Fred Benedetti in October. 13, Grossmont Concert Band conducted by Russ Sperling on October 20 and Grossmont Vocal Jazz Ensemble conducted by Melonie Grinnell on October 21.

Grossmont tickets cost $ 5 for students, $ 10 for seniors, and $ 15 for general admission. Reserved seats must be ordered by email by contacting the college music office at Tickets will be sold at the door on the day of the event, only cash and checks will be accepted.

Additionally, Grossmont’s sister school, Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego, will open its arts season in person at 7:30 p.m. Friday with the Cuyamaca College Choir performing “One World: In Spirit, Ritual, and Song” at the Samuel M Ciccati Performing Arts Center on campus.

Directed by Artistic Director Jasper Sussman, the choir performance will feature a number of guest soloists with a repertoire including Hussein Janmohamed’s piece “Grateful Heart,” dedicated to frontline workers and teachers.

Classical music will soon be back in Cuyamaca, where the East County Harmonics Organization chamber music series kicks off its third year of performances on November 11. by instructor Taylor Smith. The Ensemble will perform U2’s album “The Joshua Tree” on December 3rd. Cuyamaca College concert tickets and details are available at

COVID-19 protocols are in place at both sites, requiring full vaccination or negative PCR tests within 72 hours of performances, as well as masking and social distancing.


William E. Bennett

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