(ENGLEWOOD, NJ) -- Bergen Performing Arts Center's Chair of The Board of Trustees, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, announced the naming of the renovated bergenPAC lobby with a dedication ceremony held on Saturday, December 17, honoring Eileen K. Murray, to dedicate its newly renovated lobby in honor of her parents with the unveiling of the Bridget H. and James P. Murray Lobby.
Eileen Murray, a longtime bergenPAC supporter, explains, "My siblings and I grew up with a deep appreciation for the magic of the arts and how it brings people together of all ages, gender, race, and religion.”
"Eileen Murray was a significant reason we were able to accomplish our goals, ushering in the arts and world-class performances once again!" bergenPAC Board of Trustees Chair Valerie Vainieri Huttle said. "Her dedication and commitment to our organization's mission helped attract other major supporters to join our Capital Campaign."
Bergen Performing Arts Center's announces the naming of the renovated bergenPAC lobby donated by Eileen K. Murray, in honor of her parents with the unveiling of the Bridget H. and James P. Murray Lobby. (From L to R) Alexander Diaz, Executive Director; Eileen K. Murray; Gary Porzio, bergenPAC Board Member; Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Chair of The Board of Trustees; Frank Huttle III, bergenPAC’s Founder Photo Credit: Jeremy Smith
Eileen is proud to now help bergenPAC sustain its place as the region's home for cultural entertainment and arts education for future generations to enjoy – and honor her parent's legacy.
Bridget and James raised nine children in a three-bedroom apartment in New York City. Despite the challenges of losing her husband to congestive heart failure while four of their children were still young, Bridget showed her family how to have grit and a generous spirit as she found ways to keep their home full of laughter, music, and delicious meals.
"My parents didn't have much money, but they were more than generous with what they did have. Our house was rich with the love of family, country, community, and music," she said. "The bergenPAC's goal of bringing a community together for the joy of sharing music and dance is deeply valued by the entire Murray family."
"It's fitting that a space designed with such care to welcome people and make them feel at home before enjoying world-class entertainment would have Bridget's and James' names. I want to thank others in advance for making the berganPAC’s Capital Campaign successful," said Eileen Murray.
The $15 million Capital Campaign includes the complete restoration of the Main Hall, preserving one of America's beloved historic theaters to its 1926 architecture and design. Significant upgrades and enhancements include the repair of the proscenium, which was hand-painted, columns restored to their brilliance from the 1900s, new comfortable seating, and a state-of-the-art sound system.
The Capital Campaign is ongoing. bergenPAC's nonprofit mission is to make live entertainment and arts education accessible to the community. bergenPAC is expanding its education program "Voices in Harmony," a performance opportunity for adults and children with special needs. This program is in partnership with New Jersey Public Schools. Lead The Way and Invest in the Arts by donating bergenpac.org.
Founded in 2003, the 1,367-seat Bergen Performing Arts Center, or bergenPAC, is the area's cultural mecca. The theater’s legacy started in 1926 when it opened as the Englewood Plaza movie theater. United Artists purchased the building in 1967 and kept the doors open until 1973. Through the efforts of a group of local citizens under the leadership of John Harms, the John Harms Center came to life in 1976. In 2003, a small group of dedicated individuals led by Frank Huttle III helped preserve this special theater and rechristened it the Bergen Performing Arts Center. The historic Art Deco-style theater boasts one of the finest acoustic halls in the United States, attracting a stellar roster of world-class entertainment. The jewel in our crown is The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC – the innovative, educational performing arts initiative that, through programs, classes, outreach, school shows, and main theater presented shows, reaches more than 30,000 students and community youth annually. The Performing Arts School provides community youth, age 2 months to 21 years, with unique, "hands-on" training in music, dance, and theater by industry professionals. Through the ongoing generosity of sponsors, donors, members, and patrons, the not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation bergenPAC and The Performing Arts School can thrive and enrich our community. Follow bergenPAC on Facebook and @bergenPAC on Instagram and Twitter.
Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) is a theater of and for the community it serves throughout northern New Jersey by leading the way with a creative focus, educational resource, and engine of economic vitality. A nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization, bergenPAC's mission is to make live performing arts and arts education accessible to its diverse community by building an innovative home for artists and teachers of excellence and relevance who entertain, enlighten, inspire, and inform their audiences and students. bergenPAC's Performing Arts School is the areas' leading cultural and arts educational institution in Northern New Jersey, which shall guide and liberate the imagination of our youth and expand the lives of our adults. Invest in the Arts by Taking a Leading Role Supporting the Renovation and Arts Education.