Nixa’s performing arts programs benefit from new and updated space

Paige Oyler, Website Editor, Social Media, and Jr Designer

Nixapella performed three songs at the Aetos Center for the Performing Arts Meridian Title Performance Hall on open house night Feb. 4. Junior Ariana Atkinson lead the song, “The Night We Met,” by Lord Huron. (paige)

The Aetos Center For The Performing Arts is providing new opportunities and space at Nixa High School. The entire Aetos Center, including the band room, the black box theater, the theater workshop and the choir rooms, cost $16 million, which was funded by a bond issue approved by Nixa voters in 2019.
Head of the NHS theatre department Allison Fleetwood said she is hopeful for future growth.
“This new space is going to give us an opportunity to train students really on the collegiate level,” Fleetwood said. “We’re going to have a black box space and a main stage, so two different types of stages.”
Head choir director Daniel Gutierrez has been eagerly awaiting the expansion of two new choir rooms and practice rooms.
“In the current choir room, we have choir on the risers, but when you have a choir like a concert choir with over 70 students it gets really crowded,” Gutierrez said. “Downstairs, we’re going to have loads of space.”
Creating and constructing the Aetos allows for a consistent practice schedule for the performing arts.
“Before, if there were concerts in there we kind of lost our rehearsal space,” Fleetwood said. “Now, we’ll be able to go into the black box and be able to host a blocking rehearsal without really being affected by losing our space.”
Gutierrez is looking forward to an expanding and improving program.
“The acoustical quality is a lot better — it’s very resonant,” Gutierrez said. “There are panels on the walls, panels on the ceiling — that’s going to reverberate the sound quite a bit — it allows us to do more of what we’re doing.”
Craig Finger, Director of Nixa bands, felt limited by previous space, but now he says the program will be able to flourish with 10,000 square feet, compared to the previous about 4,000.
“We’ve been kind of hamstrung by the limitations of space in the old facility for about seven or eight years now.” Finger said. “Now we’re able to have the full band in the same room at the same time, the only time before was out on the field because that’s the only place that we fit.”
The theatre department is putting on its biggest show yet in Mar. 2023.
“The first show that’s going to kick off is ‘SpongeBob the Musical,’ ” Fleetwood said. “This is the biggest production we’ve ever done by far and we now have space to house these huge groups of people.”