When the lights come upon
Twelve full-time staff members and 104 volunteers hosted a wide-array of events and performances at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in 2019. Among the highlights, a rockin’ “Rock of Ages” Broadway-series performance, an 83rd birthday celebration for the legendary Buddy Guy (including birthday cake); a broadcast performance from the popular NPR’s ‘From the Top’; a fantastic family show from Cirque Goes to Hollywood; beauty in action from BalletX as they revealed a World Premiere from choreographer Nicolo Fonte; and a sold-out performance from legendary comedian Jay Leno. Not to mention Abba Mania, Billy Strings, a special, free, Memorial Day showing of the WWI film They Shall Not Grow Old, a spectacular year for Underground Sound, several performances from local performing arts organizations, and so much more.
These are only a few of the pinnacle moments during the year that speak to the quality and diversity of the VPAC’s programming as well as it’s special role as a community center – truly achieving the venue’s mission and raison d’être.
When the lights
go low, and the last spectators take their seats, a hush often falls over the Vilar Performing Arts Center. In that silent increment before a performance begins, the venue itself has a moment to shine.
More than 32,720 people experienced such a moment at the VPAC in 2019, almost all of whom likely took time to admire the intricate craftsmanship of the venue’s wood trim and paneling, the comfort of the acoustically-calibrated seating, and the pin-drop precision of the sound design.
There is another side to the venue that many cannot see. It’s a time when other kinds of talent are on display: the efficient professionalism of the house crew, or the whisk-smart movements of the load-in. In the hours before a show, the professionalism of the staff creates a buzz throughout the building, a hum of activity, creating a kind of symphony all its own.
The literal incarnations of ‘buzz’ and ‘hum,’ however, will not be heard in the moments before a show at the Vilar Performing Arts Center. That’s thanks to a newly-installed sound system, digitally retrofitted and as finely-tuned as a Stradivarius violin, which emits crystal-clear sound and, perhaps more impressively, no detectible buzz or hum even when the high-power system is turned on.
The new system is one of many improvements at the VPAC in 2019, all part of the venue’s continued pursuit of excellence. The VPAC has long been known for the innate beauty of its European-inspired architecture and the warm comforts of its proscenium design, but it is not a venue to be satisfied with the status quo, and is constantly, and creatively, adapting to the changing landscape of the performing arts world.
For evidence of this disposition, look no further than the newly-remodeled May Gallery Patron Lounge. The May Gallery now features a contemporary mountain design by Laureen Hopkins Interior Design complete with Swarovski crystal chandeliers and new luxury seating. The bar area has been revamped and an open floorplan invites conversation and perusal of the rotating art show on display.
Such an exceptional space invites intimate performance – and so it is that the “Salon Series” welcomed select artists for entirely unique, personal performances in the May Gallery beginning this year. The Salon Series will also carry the VPAC experience beyond the walls of the venue and into private homes, where the VPAC will book and host artists in the rarefied settings of patron residences.
It’s one of many ways the VPAC has an impact that reaches beyond its physical structure. Take, for example, the positive impact of the STARS program (Support The Arts Reaching Students) which provides exposure to the arts for more than 8,000 local students each year. Also of note, the new ‘Alcove’ upper-lobby bar, which not only provides a new spot for refreshments, but also features Colorado and local businesses, giving area entrepreneurs the opportunity to expose a new audience to their crafts.
These are only a handful of examples that show how the positive impact of the VPAC begins on stage and resonates outward in new and creative ways each year. It’s no wonder this beloved venue is also a vibrant center of community.
By the Numbers
This hall…these sounds…it’s like candy for me playing here. Few halls of this size are
as warm and generous.
This place feels more like a small group going out for a coffee than a show!
I can truly say that playing at the Vilar Performing Arts Center this year was one of the highlights of my touring schedule. It’s hard to find a better sounding venue. Everything about the VPAC is top-notch. They create an unforgettable experience for both the concert goer and the artist alike.