Music the passion at copacabana

COPACABANA nightclub's old site has been revealed as the location chosen for the new home of the Coffs Harbour Regional Conservatorium.

Last year the Conservatorium announced a major fundraising campaign to secure a permanent home by the end of the Con's quarter-century, which it is celebrating this year.

A private donor has promised $750,000 and the NSW government $250,000 but another $800,000 is needed by the end of the year to buy and refit the chosen building.

The conservatorium has been operating in leased premises since 1984 and its present quarters at HomeBase are near capacity.

Conservatorium director Carol Hellmers said while the proposed Brelsford Park cultural precinct and options at the University campus were two other options which had been floated. Ms Hellmers said the number of students attending lessons and rehearsals at the Conservatorium had more than trebled since 2005 and extra teaching was also taking place in local primary schools, the Senior Citizens Centre in Bellingen and the Salvation Army Hall in Coffs Harbour.

Architect Ann M Gee has drawn up detailed plans for the refit of the nightclub, next to the BCC cinema complex in Bray Street, following detailed consultation with teaching staff, the board and director.

The Copacabana building, which encompasses three levels, will provide 16 teaching studios, ensemble rehearsal rooms, a fully equipped recording studio, pram and wheelchair access and a 175 seat hall for performances which will be made available for community use.

If you would like to assist the Conservatorium with this project, please contact the Director Carol Hellmers on 6652 1592.

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