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OC Music & Dance Coming to the Great Park

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Rendering of the OC Music & Dance campus obtained from the City of Irvine


Another milestone in the development of the Great Park occurred just last week when ground was broken on the Orange County Music & Dance (OCMD) campus at the Park.
 
OCMD will be in the Cultural Terrace district within the Great Park, south of the Sports Complex and west of the Wild Rivers water park. It will have a 70,000-square-foot main building and a 15,000-square-foot performing arts center.
 
The school is one of three nonprofits that will have major facilities in the Cultural Terrace, the others being Pretend City Children’s Museum and the Flying Leathernecks Aviation Museum. All three are slated to be completed in 2026 and together will partner as The Collaborative — a center for experiential learning, creativity and inspiration.
 
The new OCMD facilities will allow the private music and dance school to double its enrollment to 500 K-12 students and veterans per week in its arts education and performing arts classes, according to Executive Chair and CEO Douglas Freeman.
 
“We founded OCMD to help encourage students to dream bigger and unlock their greatest potential,” said Charlie Zhang, OCMD Founder and Chairman. “The new OCMD campus will help ensure the fulfillment of musical dreams and life goals for the next generations to come.”
 
“When students come to Orange County Music and Dance, we see their journey from reluctant and tentative beginners to confident young artists and capable adults, positively impacting their brain development, life skills, and self-esteem,” said Freeman.
 
“OCMD has forever changed my life,” said OCMD student Vivienne Follman-Otta. “Ever since I had started taking classes and lessons in the voice program with my mom, I have found my voice. Now, I love to sing and perform; I love to work hard at it. And I am now going to achieve my dreams because of OCMD.”
 
Freeman also noted that the school, founded in 2017, has an endowed scholarship program that ensures that children who want to attend can do so, regardless of their financial circumstances. The school is in the process of increasing that endowment by nearly 40 percent, to $5 million, to keep pace with its expansion and ensure that students of all backgrounds will be able to participate.
 
Construction of the OCMD campus is slated to begin in January 2025, with completion expected in the fall of 2026.
 
The Collaborative will share 200,000 square feet of education, museum and performing arts space spread over the three nonprofits’ facilities. It will include interactive scientific exhibits, private teaching studios, creative learning spaces for children and families, practice rooms, rehearsal and performance spaces with professionally designed acoustics, outdoor learning areas and state-of-the-art technology and recording capacity. A 450-seat theater will be shared with local community groups and ensembles. Annual attendance is projected to be 200,000.
Roger Bloom

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