Performing Arts Center Grand Opening Set For Saturday

Photo by Joanne Shriner

OCEAN CITY – The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, along with the OC Stars children’s chorus, will perform on Saturday at the grand opening of Ocean City’s new Performing Arts Center.

On Jan. 17, the Ocean City Mayor and Council will be joined by members of the Maryland Stadium Authority and state officials to celebrate the official opening of the new Performing Arts Center (PAC) at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center.

The grand opening will celebrate the completion of the PAC that will host concerts, musicals and theatrical productions as well as seminars with its state-of-the-art equipment and two-tiered seating with a total of 1,200 seats, dressing rooms, concession areas and a box office.

The construction of the PAC is Phase II of the convention center’s expansion that began in October of 2013. The project cost $14 million and was funded in part by the state through the Maryland Stadium Authority at $5.7 million. The Town of Ocean City funded the remaining $8.3 million, which is covered by a 2013 bond issue.

The celebration will include a ribbon cutting ceremony and performances by the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra (MSO), conducted by Julien Benichou and featuring Israel Lozano. The OC Stars will also take the stage for a special appearance.

“This event marks a monumental moment in our community’s history,” Mayor Rick Meehan said.  “The Performing Arts Center is a focal point for entertainment in Ocean City.  It represents a lot of hard work, a strong partnership between Ocean City and the State of Maryland, big dreams and a very bright future for our community.  It is a beautiful venue and I am confident that citizens will walk away with a very different experience, a more personal experience, than they will at many other venues in our surrounding area.”

According to MSO Executive Director Nicoleen Willson, the orchestra will be performing a gala-inspired classical pops program, featuring Spanish Tenor Israel Lozano. The program highlights several fanfares celebrating the opening of the PAC, including a fanfare written by Maestro Benichou, along with well-known fanfares by Copland, Stravinsky, and Dukas.  Other works by Puccini, Rossini, and Dvorak are on the program.

The MSO is also collaborating with the OC Stars, which is comprised of students from Ocean City Elementary School, performing Lift Every Voice and Sing.

“The Mid-Atlantic Symphony is honored to be a part of the inaugural season for the Performing Arts Center at the Convention Center, and especially for this ribbon-cutting event,” Willson said. “The MSO has increasingly become an important part of the Delmarva region. This new facility will provide an opportunity for the Mid-Atlantic Symphony, and other outstanding performers, to serve the community and bring excellent art to the region. We look forward to continued performances at this venue, augmenting our regular performing schedule in areas such as Ocean Pines and Easton in Maryland, and Ocean View and at the Freeman Stage in Delaware.”

Ticket prices for the grand opening celebration of the PAC with the MSO range from $25-$45 and are currently on sale through TicketMaster at or the convention center box office.

In addition to the performance, tickets include complimentary hors d’oeuvres. A cash bar will be available and black tie is optional. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m., with the ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled at 7:15 p.m. and the concert to follow.