King Center Celebrates 25 Years

On any given month The Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts may host a variety of performances and events, from an elegant wedding to a Broadway production or musical concert performed by the Brevard Symphony Orchestra. The Performing Arts Center has been an integral part of Brevard’s cultural landscape since it opened its doors 25 years ago. As part of the 25th Anniversary Celebration the King Center staff and board of directors planned a series of fundraisers to celebrate the legacy of the facility and raise support for its programs.

Under the leadership of Dr. Maxwell C. King, former president of Brevard Community College, the vision for the state-of-the-art, multi-use facility, that would fulfill both the needs of the college and the community, became a reality. The 1983 Florida State Legislature provided the funds for preliminary planning and design work for the center. Subsequent legislative funding for construction became available in 1985 and 1986 for the $12.3 million facility. The Brevard Performing Arts Center was completed in the spring of 1988. In the summer of 1989, the Brevard Community College District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rename the facility the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts.

“I don’t think anyone really knew what the impact the center would have on the community except for Dr. King,” Executive Director Steve Janicki said. “His vision and leadership beginning long before the opening of the center has had a profound impact even 25 years later.”

Today, the 126,000-square-foot facility includes a 2016-seat performing arts hall, 250-seat studio theatre, art display areas, dance studios and rehearsal halls. In addition, the facility is available for meetings, weddings, business functions, graduations and other private events.

The facility is managed by a separate 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization that is a subsidiary of Brevard Community College. In 1990, the King Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. was designated a state cultural institution and a direct support organization of BCC. Brevard Community College, a state agency, owns the King Center.

The signature fundraising event for the theatre is the 25th Anniversary Celebration. This exclusive event package includes an invitation to a private Cocktail Kickoff Party at the home of Phil and Jeanne Farmer, a ticket to see the legendary Boston Pops Orchestra presenting “The Barbara Streisand Songbook” with Keith Lockhart and Ann Hampton Callaway on March 2, a post show coffee and dessert meet-and-greet with Boston Pops director Keith Lockhart and a ticket to the musical “Rock of Ages” on Wednesday, April 10 (the actual King Center’s 25th anniversary). It also includes admission to an ‘80s themed pre-show party on April 10.

“For a couple years, I have been working on bringing some type of very special event to the community to celebrate the impact of the performing arts in our community,” Janicki said. “I put a call out to many of my agents and managers I have worked with over the 25 years that I was looking for a special event to be the cornerstone of our 25th anniversary. The Boston Pops rose to the top of the list after many months of suggestions.”

Various contribution levels are available for the signature events. All proceeds will go to the King Center for the Performing Arts programs and Endowment.

The 25th Anniversary Star Memorabilia Auction launched in January 2013 and will run through April 10, 2013.  The online auction will consist of the various posters and miscellaneous items autographed by stars that have performed on the King Center stage.

Plans began in the summer to put the celebration in place. Event chairpersons for the celebrations are Phil and Jeanne Farmer and Mr. & Mrs. J. Stanley Payne. The co-chairpersons are Darcia Jones-Francey and Myra Igo Haley.

“It is a team effort as with anything fundraising,” Darcia said. The initial fundraising goal was $100,000 but both Darcia and Myra are hopeful to surpass that that. “This money will help sustain the King Center for many years into the future.”

Myra Haley, a King Center board member and a BCC trustee is looking forward to the Boston Pops performance. “The Boston Pops coming to Brevard is very exciting.”

Darcia recalled attending the opening performance at the King Center of “Singing in the Rain.” “I remember being very excited to see a show in Melbourne.”

So what’s in store for the next 25?

“In the next 25 years it can only grow and prosper,” Darcia said. “The more the community supports the endeavor the more it will grow.”

“The King Center will continue its role in bringing the best arts and entertainment to the community and complementing Brevard Community College’s mission in educating students and the community,” Steve Janicki.