ENGLEWOOD, N.J. -- Bergen County residents know the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) for its name-brand entertainers and arts education programs but many may be surprised to know about its outreach and scholarship programs. Daily Voice sat down with President and CEO Dominic Roncace to learn more.
Daily Voice: What would people be surprised to know about bergenPAC?
Dominic Roncace: The extensive amount of reach and breadth of our programs at the Performing Arts School. We reach 30,000 students annually, educate a diversified group of over 1,200 students, and our outreach program is in 31 schools and 15 school districts teaching the arts to students who otherwise would never have had a chance. The Performing Arts School is growing at a rapid rate.
Daily Voice: You have a big education department. Tell me why that is important to you.
Dominic Roncace: Educating our youth in the arts is not only important to us and leads our mission, but it should be of utmost importance to everyone. The benefits to our kids are significant. They build qualities such as discipline, hard work, team work, and the ability to effectively communicate in an environment of performance. All these lessons are very valuable to our students as they grow, develop, and prepare for their life ahead.
Daily Voice: What programs coming up are exciting to you and why?
Dominic Roncace: Are all exciting to me because they are all great for the kids. Whether it is our cultural classes and camps for the Korean, Indian and other diverse communities or any and all other diverse communities or any and all of our kids getting trained at our school, including our special needs kids, through our dance theatre, music and production classes, it is all an exciting time.
Daily Voice: Anything else to say about special programs?
Dominic Roncace: We are constantly thinking about and developing new programs that align with our mission. Arts access is one and it provides up to 200 tickets to every show for people who otherwise could not afford to come.
We are also proud of our limitless arts program for special needs students that is in its early stages and we are looking to grow that exponentially in the future. We give out scholarships to children in need and never turn anyone away because of financial constraints. We plan on establishing a formal scholarship fund this upcoming year and significantly growing that benefit for the kids of our community over time.