$73 Million Concert Hall Coming to South Orange County

Categories: Theater, community
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South Orange County is getting its own concert hall.

Construction is complete on a $73 million performing-arts center at Soka University, a majestic college campus in Aliso Viejo. The space, anchored by a 1,034-seat auditorium, will be used for dance and orchestra productions, plays, musicals, lectures, and community events.

The sound in the auditorium was tuned by Yasuhisa Toyota, the world-renowned acoustician behind Walt Disney Concert Hall. And just about every component of the hall was created with eco sensibilities, including the vegetated green roofs, photovoltaic panels, sensor lights and the sunshade structure surrounding the lobby.

The first event to be held at the Soka Performing Arts Center will likely be the graduation ceremony for the class of 2011 in May. The university plans to then open the doors to the community in October 2011, with six to eight major events in its first season.

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Soka University is owned by the Japanese Buddhist sect Soka Gakkai, which operates a string of private schools, including PL Gakuen High School, which is a baseball factory to the Japanese pros and a frequent participant at the two yearly Koshien national baseball tournaments, and a University in Japan. It is also politically connected, as it's adherents operate the Komeito political party.


The $73 million price is actually for two buildings -- the Soka Performing Arts Center and the adjacent new classroom building. Soka University of America is a private, non-profit liberal arts college incorporated in California in 1987. SUA was founded by Soka Gakkai International, a lay Buddhist organization with members in 196 countries, on the Buddhist principles of peace, human rights and the sanctity of life. Its curriculum is non-sectarian and it is open to top students of all nationalities and religions. Soka University is governed by its own distinguished Board of Trustees (see http://www.soka.edu/administra... and it is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...

It describes its mission as the fostering of a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life—with an emphasis on principles of pacifism, human rights, and the creative coexistence of nature and humanity.[2]

Between 2005-2007 SUA graduated its first three undergraduate classes with an average graduation rate of 90%. More than a third of the students in each of the first three graduating classes have gone on to graduate school. Forty percent of the 2006 graduating class entered graduate school (compared to 20% at Claremont McKenna in the same year). Cumulatively, 38% of SUA graduates have gone on to graduate programs, according to the 2008 Peterson's Guide to Four Year Colleges (p. 2228). Students have been admitted into graduate programs at Cambridge University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Teachers College, Duke University, Harvard University, Hawaii Law, Indiana University, London School of Economics, New York University, Oxford University, Stanford University, St. Johns, University of California, Berkeley, UC Irvine, UCLA, University of Liverpool, University of Maryland School of Law, University of Pittsburgh, University of Southern California, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Vanderbilt University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, and others.[16]

In September 2010, Newsweek rated Soka University in the top 25 of small US colleges in four categories, including the "most desirable small colleges."(http://education.newsweek.com/...

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