The Sirus Theatre – 45 Years in the Making!
Written by: Tony Quattrochi, Development Staff Member
Forty-five years ago, Bruce Sirus, Class of 1969, graduated from St. Joseph High School. Little did he know that he would return years later to be one of the school’s most generous and consistent benefactors. A member of the St. Joseph Board of Directors, a chair of committees in years past, including Chargerfest (now ChargerFeast), and a contributor of time, talent and many other resources, this Charger personifies the phrase “giving back.” In an effort to express its appreciation, St. Joseph honored Bruce by renaming its auditorium, The Sirus Theatre. Primarily through Bruce’s efforts, the theatre had undergone much renovation during the last two years, with the addition of new lighting, new sound equipment, including a systems board that rivals any professional theatre in the area.
The June 18th gala that “set the stage” for surprising Bruce with this tribute, A Night to Inspire witnessed several accolades to this alum, who worked on many plays while as a student at St. Joe’s. Gene Pingatore, who has been at the school since it opened in 1960, recalled young Sirus. “He was a quiet young man who worked behind the scenes in this very theatre, developing the scenery and other production elements for a St. Joseph play and where he also developed his passion for the production world.” Gene also recalled how Bruce took his love for the arts and theatre to St. Mary’s University (then St. Mary’s College) in Winona, Minnesota, another Christian Brothers school, and later making productions his vocation. Along with his business partner, Bruce started his first production company, Brulen Enterprises, which would be later known as Production Plus. “Over the years, Bruce has paved the way for so many young men and women here. He’s been an incredible champion of our mission; a passionate alum who is generous with both his time and his treasures.” David McCreery, St. Joseph President, reflected the same sentiment. “Occasionally in life, a school such as ours is blessed to have someone in their family who makes you better. In very rare instances, an organization such as this one intersects with a person who leaves an indelible imprint of goodwill. Bruce Sirus is such a person at St. Joseph.”
Bruce’s daughter Lauren, IHM Class of 1998, shared several anecdotes about her father’s love for the theatre, especially musicals, and especially The Man of La Mancha, featuring Bruce’s favorite song, The Impossible Dream. Lauren spoke on how her father challenged and supported her to love life and succeed in her efforts. “My father has always believed in living a life built on excellence. He instilled in me that mediocrity is not an option. He always emphasized to me the importance of chasing dreams of unique merit. That is why he is above and beyond a fitting choice to be honored for his service to the St. Joseph Charger community. He believes in motivating anyone in his atmosphere to choose to dream the impossible dream. ” The audience responded with laughter and tears before Bruce took the stage to admit his surprise and extend his appreciation to all who have supported him and St. Joseph High School.
A Night to Inspire featured incredible performances from some of the areas most talented singers, including Alfreda Burke, Linda Clifford, Rodrick Dixon, Ron Hawking, Shelley MacArthur and Suzanne Palmer. All of the numbers were accompanied by Rich Daniels and the City Lights Orchestra. The show concluded with Rodrick Dixon’s rendition of The Impossible Dream.
Performers joined other guests for a reception and silent auction after the show and the evening raised funds in excess of its goal, all in support of the school.
Bruce, St. Joseph High School is proud of your success, appreciative of your generosity and fortunate to have you as a graduate. Thank you and best wishes always!
(Click here to view more pictures from the event.)