By Kelli Gile
DIAMOND BAR, CA—Walnut Valley USD marked the groundbreaking of a three-story Instrumental Music Building at Diamond Bar High School on February 19.
Over 150 residents, parents, students, staff, and community leaders attended the celebration for the state-of-the-art addition to the premier music program.
“It’s truly going to be amazing!” exclaimed Principal Dr. Reuben Jones at the site of the building located on the northwest end of the campus at Brea Canyon Road.
“I am so excited to say that we’re going to have the best instrumental music building in the country!”
The nearly $9.8 million project was made possible by voter approval of Bond Measure WV passed in November 2016.
“We are tremendously grateful for the support of our community,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.
The new 15,700 square-foot “Music Box” will feature three strategically designed levels with a 4,320 square-foot band room at the ground level, mid-level floor ensemble rooms, recording studio, library, and office space, and upper level 3,631 square-foot orchestra classroom with adjacent rehearsal spaces for piano, harp, percussion, and individual practice.
The 465-day construction project is slated for completion in Summer 2021.
“I am truly moved to think about how many thousands of students will pass through this building in the next 10 or 25 or 50 years and the impact it will have on the lives of so many young musicians,” Taylor commented.
The District chief also praised music teachers Steve Acciani and Marie Sato for their “relentless commitment and dedication to the program” and for engraining a love and appreciation of the arts into the school community.
“It is truly a part of the culture here and we’re thankful for that,” he said.
“I’d to thank our spectacular Diamond Bar High students and staff who gave up their time to help the Measure WV campaign and our amazing community for responding to their efforts,” said Board President Larry Redinger.
Diamond Bar High’s comprehensive, 700-student, instrumental music program comprises nearly one-third of the school’s population.
The program has earned the prestigious Grammy Signature Award as the top school in the nation.
For the past nine years, Diamond Bar High has broken records with the number of high school students selected for the SoCal and All-State Bands and Orchestras.
“The best thing about the new building is that it is designed around the specific needs of the uniqueness of our program at Diamond Bar High,” Acciani explained.
“Even though we have tremendously successful large groups, the program is structured around the maximizing potential of individuals.”
Two teen leaders spoke of their passion that generated impressive student involvement during the campaign.
“Measure WV gave us the opportunity to give back to our school and leave a legacy behind,” said 2017 graduate Janine Yamak.
“I remember spending every weekend knocking on people’s doors and calling people,” Yamak said.
“We did it for a purpose because we knew that all our hard work would pay off with a new three-story band building. I’m very excited to see the end result!”
Katie Samrick, a 2019 graduate, hoped the efforts of fellow band members would make an impact on future generations who spent weekends walking precincts in the “blazing sun to inform homeowners of the benefits.”
And it did.
“The morning after the election day, November 7, 2016, Mr. A. (Acciani) informed us that Measure WV had passed!” We couldn’t be happier!”
Attendees were able to take a tour of the plans using 3D virtual reality goggles and view architectural renderings on display.
“Music is such a powerful thing,” said Principal Jones. “It will be truly wonderful to have it coming from this new building.”
To view a virtual walkthrough video, please visit: http://bit.ly/2w16AzY.