Byron Center students are extremely fortunate to have access to showcase their talents both on and off stage at the Van Singel Fine Arts Center. The performing arts students have the opportunity to perform on a professional stage for their concerts and theatrical events. Twice a year the Byron Center Public School visual arts students feature their talents with student art exhibits in December and May.
The Van Singel Fine Arts Center, which officially opened its doors on November 20, 1998, was designed to be very flexible to use for a wide variety of events including providing the Byron Center students a first class, professional stage in which to perform. Every year the Van Singel Fine Arts Center hosts a wide variety of events from concerts to Broadway type shows to rentals, but school district events and performances make up most of the facilities stage time.
Part of a $34.9 million Byron Center High School complex, the Center was built to provide both education in the performing arts, and cultural enrichment in a region that was once void of such life enriching opportunities.
Research drove the design of this facility. It was meticulously planned to showcase the arts in a desirable setting to attract the finest in the performing and fine arts. Unlike other performing arts centers associated with high schools at that time, the Van Singel focused on creating an intimate setting, catering to ideal staging elements, lighting, and acoustics, rather than to house a maximum number of patrons. It comfortably seats 796 patrons in extra wide seats with generous legroom.
The Van Singel stage offers over 6,000 square feet of performance and workspace, one of the largest in West Michigan. Wing space to each side is 35’ wide; allowing plenty of room to move sets off the stage between acts and provide for storage of those sets without interfering with the performance or affecting audience’s sight lines. A scene shop of over 1,200 square feet, suitable for building professional like sets for the school district performances. The 50’ wide opening for the proscenium arch on the stage allows for the presentation of large school groups. Strategically placed acoustic shells give the finest sound reproduction possible. Five fly lines are dedicated solely to the band shell. If school choir, school band or orchestra wishes to give a performance, the Center can be ready in minutes instead of hours.
The facility offers road show power requirements for additional lighting and sound equipment, 54 fly lines, 14 suspended electrics, curtains, a 20’ by 30’ movie screen, a 20’ by 30’ American Flag, borders, drapes, and acoustic shells. The variety of fly lines, electrical components, and almost 700 dimmer switches allow for dramatic special effects and the staging of two to three shows at a time.