By E. Sherwin Mackintosh

Performing Arts CenterNow, what is that building?" That was my first qualified and motivated faculty. question. I was to…


July 29, 2005



By E. Sherwin Mackintosh

Performing Arts CenterNow, what is that building?” That was my first qualified and motivated faculty. question. I was touring the P.K. Yonge School with my son, Chase, and my friend, Randy Scott, a/k/a Florida’s Teacher of the Year. We were visiting my wife’s family in Gainesville, and I had just stepped out of the Front Office at P.K. Yonge when I looked over and asked Randy about the huge building project underway adjacent to the office. “Oh, that’s our new Performing Arts Center,” Randy answered. It’s a $6.5 million dollar facility. That’s all that I remember about the tour. Randy’s mouth kept moving, but I didn’t hear anything he said. The rest of the time, the wheels of my mind started turning (granted, not as fast as they used to. . .). I couldn’t get over the fact that in a time when most schools were doing away with, or at least cutting back their Performing Arts programs, P.K. Yonge had invested $ 6.5 million dollars into an innovative Arts facility housing the Chorus, Drama, Band, and Elementary Music departments, as well as a state of- the-art auditorium. In addition, it wasn’t just the “school auditorium”; it was “The Performing Arts Center.” All that said a lot about the commitment of this administration to the Arts. I was blown away. At the end of the tour, we found ourselves back where we started, and Randy asked what we thought. I woke up and asked again, “Now what is that building?” I had spent the last 17 years in New York City. I worked for a large church in Manhattan and had produced shows at Madison Square Gardens, the Beacon Theater, Town Hall, even Harlem’s Apollo Theater. I had helped to start the HOPE School of the Arts in Harlem and Patterson, New Jersey. I had spent some time playing on Broadway, made a Carnegie Hall debut in the recital hall, and I was commissioned to write and perform at Governor Lawton Chiles’ Memorial service in Washington, D.C. where I performed for President Clinton, Senator Ted Kennedy and others. However, the truth is, the thrill was gone, the shine had worn off the Big Apple, and I was looking for a little slower pace (my health seemed to be dictating that) and a new dream for my life (God seemed to be dictating that). Randy knew this and seemed to have his own agenda going, because he again said, “That’s the new Performing Arts Center.” But this time he added, “And I think you’re just the man to be the new director.”   You see, I wasn’t looking for a job, but as P.K.Yonge Director Fran Vandiver said later, I was looking for an opportunity. Well I spent an extra day in Gainesville, met with Dr. Vandiver at 7:30 on Monday morning, and it wasn’t long before we loaded up the truck and moved to: Yes, Gainesville Florida. I was to be the first Director of the new Performing Arts Center work with the Chorus and Drama departments, and begin work on my Doctorate. It was a new dream, but I’m not sure about the slower pace.

Today everyone is asking, “Now what is that building?” Well it’s a new dream and a new opportunity for all of us. It’s a resurrection, it’s a revival, it’s a new resource for the arts, not only for P.K. Yonge, but the University and the community as well. And I believe the day will come when people will no longer be asking, “Now, what is that building?” Because its reputation will precede it.

The P.K. Yonge Performing Arts Center will become not only a magnet for the performing arts, but will help set the standard for Performing Arts in the Educational world.

Now- that’s a building.

Elementary Music Room Band Room Creekside Gallery
Stage in PAC Auditorium Auditorium Fine Arts Hallway

“Moon Dance” by Artist Charles Strain

Moon Dance by Artist Charles Strain


P.K. Yonge Performing Arts Center Dedication Week Celebration


DECEMBER 3, 4 and 5 (WED-FRI)

9:00 AM: Elementary Orientation Mini-Performances, PAC Auditorium


9:00 AM: High School Performance

With Guest Conductor David Holt, PKY Band Director 1986-1996

PAC Auditorium

7:30 pm: Dress Rehearsal (general public)

Featuring T.O. Sterrett and Guest Conductor Robert Hyatt, PKY Band Director 1983-1986

PAC Auditorium


6:30 pm: Alumni Reception

Creekside Terrace (overlooking Tumblin