Three Stages gets new name in honor of retiring official

By: Laura Newell, Telegraph staff writer
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FOLSOM, CA - Big changes are happening at Three Stages this year, after district officials chose to change the performing center’s official name. The Los Rios Community College District Board of Trustees has renamed the regional fine and performing arts facility at Folsom Lake College the “Harris Center for the Arts” in honor of retiring chancellor Brice Harris. The change was formally announced last week at a retirement reception for Harris. “We could think of no better way to honor Brice’s exceptional 16-year tenure as our chancellor,” said Los Rios Board president Ruth Scribner. “We wouldn’t even have a regional arts center if it wasn’t for Brice’s original vision. He was the first to see that the Folsom/El Dorado areas were woefully lacking in performing arts venues and led the district in creating a superior facility capable of showcasing not only student work but national and international touring companies as well.” Harris has been a life-long supporter of the arts and has served on numerous art boards including the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Crocker Art Museum. He began his educational career nearly 40 years ago as a theater arts professor. “This is without doubt the biggest honor of my life,” Harris said. “These past 16 years have given me the opportunity to work with the most amazing people in a truly wonderful district and I can’t say how much it means to have this beautiful arts facility named in my honor. It is overwhelming.” The facility, which has been called Three Stages, will transition to the new name over the coming months. The structure of the center will remain the same after the name change transition, said Dave Webb, with Three Stages. “In terms of our Presents (touring artists), Partners (community organizations) and Productions (student productions) – that structure will be sustained, as that reflects both our mission and our commitment to the community,” Webb said. “This will take us months to transition; we are still Three Stages and will be Three Stages until we are ready to change over completely. While we are excited about this transition and we are grateful of Dr. Harris’s contribution to the district and to Three Stages, we are going to take our time and do this right.” Webb said Three Stages officials are still determining how the name change will impact the performing arts center completely, including costs for the restructure. “We are sitting down this week to discuss what those costs will be to transition the name from Three Stages to Harris Center for the Arts,” Webb said. The El Dorado Musical Theater, based out of El Dorado Hills, performs regularly at the performing arts center. “We are one of the largest local performers at the center, performing about 50 shows a year there,” said Trevor Frew, El Dorado Musical Theater vice president. “The name change will not affect us because the center handles all of the ticket sales. There will be no additional costs to us that we are aware of, during the name change transition. We are excited to continue our relationship with the performing arts center.” Others in the community question whether the name change is the right decision for the center. Gordon Purdy, along with his wife Lola, are Folsom residents and Three Stages supporters and sponsors. “In reality, Three Stages was only a placeholder name, but it has become established to many in the region,” Purdy said. “Personally, I think a name change at this point, other than to recognize a sponsor that has paid for that privilege, is missing an opportunity to help the center grow. ‘Naming rights’ is a revenue opportunity that could help the center bring more and even better content to Folsom. But, with that said, the reality is, the center is a great asset to Folsom. So, if they want to change the name that is OK by me. Just don’t lose sight of the real value of this facility – what it offers to the community.”