Oak Bay High principal Randi Falls and John Falkins, president of the Oak Bay Alumni Association with the Steinway concert grand piano they hope to see stay in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre. The campaign is $18,000 shy of its $83,000 goal. Pirjo Raits photo

Oak Bay High principal Randi Falls and John Falkins, president of the Oak Bay Alumni Association with the Steinway concert grand piano they hope to see stay in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre. The campaign is $18,000 shy of its $83,000 goal. Pirjo Raits photo

Alumni association puts the ‘grand’ in Oak Bay High music

The Oak Bay Alumni Association has been a generous contributor to the community of Oak Bay. They have donated scholarships for graduates in the arts, athletics and the school’s leadership group, as well as donations to the Rotary Club of Oak Bay for legacy scholarships for Indigenous students post-secondary education.

Their latest project is buying a concert grand piano for the new, 420-seat Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay High. The association donates $30,000 towards the $100,000 project. The project was inspired by a benefit concert at the theatre in 2015.

“Jazz singer Joe Coughlin and I collaborated on a concert celebrating Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday featuring an 18-piece, all-star big band and the seven-foot Steinway concert grand piano donated by Tom Lee Music’s Simon Phillips for our benefit concert to raise funds for the Sno’uyutth Legacy Scholarship. It was a big success, and after the concert folks came up to me and asked if I’d help get a piano like that as a permanent fixture at the new community theatre,” said community organizer Joseph Blake. “A couple of months later I joined the piano project committee, and with the committee’s hard work and both large and small donations, we’ve almost completed the project.”

School District 61 gave the committee 100 individually sponsored seats to sell. Each seat cost $450 and currently there are less than 40 seats left. A benefit concert, Panorama, raised several thousand dollars. Panorama 2 is scheduled for September 12 and will showcase more local pianists and the new Steinway concert grand piano.

On May 12, the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre and the Oak Bay Alumni Association host a benefit concert which includes local jazz stars Brent Jarvis and Toni Blodgett. Tickets are $10 at the door, show begins at 7 p.m.

“We hope to wrap up the campaign by September, we need $18,000 to finish our goal,” said John Falkins, president of the Oak Bay Alumni Association.

Send donations to Oak Bay Rotary Foundation, c.o Rod Sim Inc., #210-2187 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria, BC V8R 1G1.

oak bay high