Reyome, 19, is a second-year student in the SoPA program and sang one of her personal favourites, “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys, to a crowd of about 100 who attended the event.
“It was so nice,” said Reyome about her first time performing in the garage.
Located on 295 Kent St., the red and white old-fashioned garage will help address the pressing need for a rehearsal and performance space for students in the SoPA program.
The garage is a soundproofed rehearsal studio featuring permanently installed, preprogrammed light and sound systems.
“It’s what a studio should sound like,” said Reyome, who is originally from Attleboro, Mass.
“We don’t get that authentic feel in the two buildings that we normally rehearse in. This building is definitely a top-notch performance area for us.”
Students will also use this space for workshops and lessons.
Gaylene Carragher, director of SoPA, says this garage will provide the students with a place where they can be creative without being under the watchful eye of instructors and audiences all the time.
“This is their place to try new things,” said Carragher.
Since the doors opened, the space has been used in some capacity every day.
Mike O’Grady, vice-president for strategic development, said the new garage pays tribute to the property’s original structure, built by the Duncan family many years ago.
“This is based on the original garage,” said O’Grady. “We thought it would be appropriate to do a rebuild on the old garage with the stepped parapet design on the front and all of the accessories that go with an old garage.”
O’Grady said this project was in the works for more than a year, with the college receiving around $29,000 in funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
The space was needed since enrolment in the music program has almost doubled in the past two years, said O’Grady.
Holland College president Brian McMillan says this new garage is another important dimension for the SoPA program.
“It’s going to be a place where people are going to come, of all ages, and participate.”
McMillan said a partnership with Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts has been critical to the success of the SoPA program in recent years.
Berklee now refers students to Holland College, which is a member of the Berklee International Network.
The partnership has drawn many international students to the Holland College program, including Reyome, who plans on auditioning to Berklee.
Reyome says Holland College has prepared her in all the essential areas for the prestigious music school.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to get that middle ground before being totally thrown into the world of Berklee.”