Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love spoke to the crowd and sang a short a cappella version of the gospel standard “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” at a March 15 groundbreaking ceremony at BergenPAC in Englewood that launched a $15 million public-private partnership capital campaign.
The campaign will support the renovation and restoration of the theater, and the expansion of its arts education programs.
“I was born and raised in Los Angeles, Calif., but a lot of people think I’m from New Jersey, because I think I worked every place there is to work in New Jersey,” Love said. “But I started right here at BergenPAC, when it was called John Harms.”
BergenPAC originally opened in 1926 as the Englewood Plaza movie theater, and became known as the John Harms Center in the ’70s, then BergenPAC in 2003.
Also performing at the groundbreaking ceremony was Vince Ermita, a strong-voiced 11-year-old student from BergenPAC’s Performing Arts School who has appeared on Broadway in “The Lion King.” Ermita sang an original song, “Life Is Like a Hurricane,” accompanying himself on keyboards.
Among those who spoke and helped with the groundbreaking were U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer, BergenPAC board chairman Robert Cook, BergenPAC founder Frank Huttle III, Bergen County Executive James Tedesco and Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes.
The theater is currently closed but expected to reopen in October. Among the improvements to be done by then are a new LED marquee; new theater seats, carpeting and stage; light and audio upgrades; added bathrooms; and expanded lobby and bars.
Love performs an annual holiday show at BergenPAC and plans to do so again this year, in December.
For information and updates, visit bergenpac.org.
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