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A new fine arts wing for Carney
After nearly a decade of fundraising, students and staff at Port Coquitlam’s Archbishop Carney regional secondary will see ground broken next month for a fine arts wing.
But don’t expect the drama and visual arts classes to be included in the new building.
That’s because the 6,200-square foot, two-storey structure isn’t big enough to house the 60 students in drama and visual arts divisions, principal Lorraine Paruzzolo said.
Instead, the wing will be new digs for the 108 students in choir (vocal jazz, chamber, junior, senior and liturgy), the 88 band students (junior 1, junior 2, beginners’ concert, junior concert, senior concert and liturgy) and the dozens more in media arts (info tech junior, info tech senior, multimedia, music composition and music technology).
“Forty per cent of our student body here at Carney is in at least one fine arts class,” Paruzzolo said of the 638 population, “and that’s a very high number for any school.”
She credited fine arts department head Evelyn Young for making the Grade 8 to 12 school so arts dominant. In 1997, there were only seven choir students; Young started at Carney in 1999 “and she worked with the kids and look what we have today.”
Music under the direction of Amy Stephens has also flourished despite the cramped conditions. Last year, the senior concert band, senior concert choir and senior vocal jazz ensembles took high marks at the Heritage Music Festival in San Diego, California.
Paruzzolo praised the community for helping Carney raise the $2.1 million needed to build the new wing, which will start construction — just north of the school gym — on Jan. 4; it is expected to wrap up in August, before the start of the next academic year.
Over the years, special collections have been taken at regional feeder Catholic parishes and schools and annual galas have been held. Last year’s event included auctioning off a signed electric guitar from Jon Bon Jovi.
“We feel truly blessed by our community,” she said.
Still, once the new wing is up, Paruzzolo said Carney has to launch another drive to furnish it with such items as risers, chairs and tables, computers and music stands.
And once that’s complete, students and staff will start their final push to complete the development of the 19-year-old, eight-acre school: The fourth phase calls for a sports clubhouse.