Ribbon-cutting opens new Heinz Prechter arts center

Photo by Evelyn Cairns

Photo by Evelyn Cairns

Cameron Priebe (left), Waltraud Prechter and An-thony Arminiak are ready to tour the Heinz C. Prech-ter Educational and Performing Arts Center after the ribbon-cutting ceremony April 9 at Wayne County Community College District’s Downriver Campus in Taylor. Priebe is the former mayor of Taylor and was a member of the ribbon-cutting committee. Arminiak is president of the Downriver Campus. The 78,000-square-foot center has an auditorium that seats 812.

The late Heinz Prechter’s vision of establishing a performing arts center in the Downriver area came to fruition April 9 at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Heinz C. Prechter Educational and Performing Arts Center at Wayne County Community College Dis-trict’s Downriver Campus.

The ceremony was part of a celebration that in-cluded talks by Curtis Ivery, chancellor of the Wayne County Community College District, and Anthony Ar-miniak, Downriver Campus president; remarks by Prechter’s widow, Waltraud; and the Prechters’ daughter, Stephanie; a luncheon and a tour of the center.

Additional speakers were Taylor Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand; Cameron Priebe, former mayor of Taylor and honorary committee member for the ribbon-cutting program; and Alan Anderson, a member of the Wayne County Community College board of directors.

Heinz Prechter, who suffered from depression and committed suicide in 2001, was affectionately known as the Duke of Downriver for his dedication to and promotion of the area.

He came to the United States as a German ex-change student with $11 in his pocket and became an automotive industry icon after a sun-roof business he started in a garage workshop expanded worldwide.

The 78,000-square-foot Educational and Per-forming Arts Center, built at a cost of approximately $16.5 million, was scheduled to open to the public Saturday with a grand opening concert by country su-perstar Clint Black in the facility’s 812-seat audito-rium.

The concert will be followed April 29 through May 1 by the 2010 Mid-States Regional Dance America Festival, to be hosted by the city of Taylor. The event, titled “We Dance for Joy,” will showcase 10 acclaimed dance companies from 13 states in ballet, jazz and other dance forms. Taylor Ballet America, directed by its founder, Joy Squire, will appear in four segments of the program. Patricia and Leif Lorencz are artistic directors of the company.

Tickets are $25 for each evening. Only cash or personal checks will be accepted for payment. For more information, call (734) 374-3904.

‘Local Roots’ dinner slated
The prize-winning chefs at The Henry Ford are inviting the public to celebrate Earth Day at a “Spring Local Roots Evening” dinner featuring locally sourced foods at 7 p.m. Thursday in Greenfield Village’s Eagle Tavern. A cash bar will be available from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

The meal will begin with a hoophouse green salad and ramp and potato soup, to be followed by Lake Erie yellow perch and an Amish chicken chop accompanied by stone-milled polenta and braised greens. The dessert will be a Michigan dried cherry rice pudding.

Mario Tabone, who, with his wife, Mary Ann, owns and operates Tabone Vineyards and Winery and Tabone Orchards on the Mission Peninsula, will be the speaker. Dried cherries from the couple’s or-chards will be used in the dessert.

The Tabones, who live in Dearborn, sell their fruit, fruit vinegars and sparkling cherry juice at The Henry Ford’s Farmer’s Market events.

The cost of the dinner is $65 per person. Reserva-tions are necessary. To order tickets, call (313) 982-6001.

What’s happening . . .
Through May 27 — Art exhibit by Josephine Dentico of Wyandotte at the Rosalind and Richard Meyer and Tom Shumate galleries in the Trenton Vil-lage Theatre, 2447 W. Jefferson.

April 24, 25 — Big-event weekends at Greenfield Village start with Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends as they return for a “Day Out with Thomas: The Celebration Tour,” marking Thomas’ 65 birthday and featuring 20-minute train rides on a real steam engine pulled by Thomas; call (313) 982-6001 for vil-lage admission fees and the cost of extra tickets re-quired for the train ride.