Venice High’s Auditorium As A Venue Returns On Campus

Alex Esparza, Co-Engagement Editor

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After six years of being shuttered, the Venice Alumni Association hosted the Venice High School Auditorium’s Reopening Gala for the public April 15.

In the past two years, many events that would have been hosted in the auditorium were instead hosted in places like the Learning Garden or the quad.

The reopening included speeches by former Venice teacher Grant Francis and other Venice alumni and staff. The Allegros,  Wind Ensemble, and the Crescendos, (Venice’s alumni jazz ensemble) and with the theater department, performed.   

Since the reopening, the auditorium has hosted among other events such as the Theater Department’s One Act Festival, assemblies celebrating Asian-American Pacific Islander Month, and special on-campus events like Career Day.

As a member of the Allegros, I thought the program definitely showcased the abilities and talents that students have. Now with the auditorium officially open to the public, it gives Venice performers a real platform on campus to express themselves, with some showing their acting talents,as well as singing, and instrumental work. 

Senior Carissa Eves, a member of the theater program, expressed her excitement at performing a short adaptation of the Shakespeare classic, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“I felt great about it—I liked everything about the gala,” she said. “I would love to see the band and musicals all in one. Maybe some talent shows and music gigs. I’m just looking forward to seeing more from the people in and out of Venice.”

Many members of the Venice community are looking forward to seeing more things happening in the theater, including debates, theater productions,concerts, and outside groups and speakers, according to principal Cynthia Headrick. 

“It was really exciting to both students and alumni coming together and putting on such an amazing program,” she said. “I’m excited to see everything. It’s just an incredible space to use and put half of our student body in there.” 

All the alumni that were involved were excited and very engaged with the choir program. Under the direction of Wendy Sarnoff, the director of the Venice High Allegros, the group encouraged the audience to dance while they sang. She expressed just how special this was to her, with a special program set up with songs that have powerful meanings like “Hiney Ma Tov,” “United We Dream”, and “Oh! What a Beautiful City.”

“I don’t have to be on the stage performing all the time to appreciate art,” she said. “I can look at the band, the Crescendos and the choir and can just be in the beauty of the room. Just seeing former students,peers, and warm faces was a great feeling for not just me but others too.”

She and many other people involved were excited to see the Allegros perform in the auditorium after all these years. And for some, it was their first time seeing performances and performing in the building. 

Junior Andrew Huang participated in many numbers for the program. He played a cello piece along with singing in the Allegros, and The Fourtisimos, Venice’s barbershop quartet.

“It was a mix of everything,” he said. “When it came to playing cello I was much more nervous. Since I played a sadder cello piece that was really emotional, I tried to get into a more serious mindset, and was very relieved and emotionally exhausted when I was done. 

“I was less nervous about singing, since barbershop music is supposed to be fun. So it’s good to just have fun singing with my friends.”

The performance of “First Burn” from the musical Hamilton performed by The Three Pitches (featuring juniors Lauren Ashley, Estrela Boateng, and Adriana Pozos)  stunned the crowd. 

“The dedication to the auditorium was a big event in general since it’s been closed for 6 years. Just to know that I was part of the reopening was very fun,” Pozos said. “I hope to see more shows like musicals and hope future classes will respect it.”