The new Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center (PAC) held its Opening Gala weekend from Friday, Sept. 9 to Monday, Sept. 12.
Events included a formal concert by Roberta Flack, the inaugural performance of the Florence Symphony Orchestra, a performance by the Charleston Symphony Spiritual Ensemble, dance recitals featuring regional dance groups, a performance by Judy Collins, and FMU Theatre Program’s production of select scenes and monologues in their “Shakespeare Showcase.”
FMU President Dr. Fred Carter attended many of the events, including the Roberta Flack concert on Sept. 9 and the inaugural performance for the Florence Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 12. He said that he was pleased with the new PAC building.
“It’s everything we hoped for,” Carter said. “It’s just a superb performance venue, and I think over the years, the community, the students and our faculty will enjoy it very much.”
Paolo André Gualdi, world-class pianist and assistant professor of music at FMU, played with the Florence Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 12. Gualdi said that he believes that part of the reason that the show was so well-received was that the new facilities were state of the art.
“The concert hall is a world class facility,” Gualdi said. “I’ve played my share of concerts throughout the country and Europe, and I can tell you it’s one of the best spaces I’ve ever experienced.”
Gualdi also said that he believed the acoustics heavily impacted the success of the show.
“It was beautiful just to be able to perform in it with a full orchestra,” Gualdi said. “The acoustics were great, so everybody can actually enjoy the full quality of what we were trying to do.”