HAMMONTON—For more than a decade,
the Hammonton High School (HHS) Performing Arts
Center [PAC] has been home to numerous events
and shows. Since the high school moved its
location to Old Forks Road in 2002 and a
brand-new performing arts facility was
constructed, it has given opportunities to many
high school students who aspire to have a career
in arts and theater as they showcase their
talents on the cavernous stage. It has an
approximately 880 person seating capacity, which
provides sufficient space for audiences as well.
During school hours, the facility is used for
club, class meetings, and various assemblies and
guests speakers, along with workshops,
rehearsals and to show movies for some classes,
according to HHS Choral Director Marissa
The performing arts center is used frequently
during after-school hours as well, and
throughout the year. It is used for club
meetings, rehearsals and several other events
“It is also used for department and staff
meetings, along with the school talent shows,
Miss Hammonton Pageant, Mr. Hammonton Pageant,
the spring musical, Lip Sync Contests, band and
chorus concerts. The community uses it a great
deal too. Dance Magic uses the facility
twice-a-year for their winter and spring
recitals. It is used by town organizations to
host fundraisers such as concerts and movie
nights. The Hammonton Recreation Department uses
the facility every summer to rehearse and put on
a musical,” Carrafiello said.
Carrafiello loves what the Hammonton High School
Performing Arts Center provides for her
students, and believes the group has an edge
compared to other area schools.
“I love the large stage and large room capacity.
It’s a very good professional stage and I think
that is one of the perks for the students. They
feel like they are working in a professional
theatre atmosphere. We have a definite advantage
over some of the other local schools to be able
to use such a nice space,” she said.
The annual high school spring play runs from
March 13 to 15 this year. Carrafiello is working
many hours at the performing arts center to
prepare her students for the three-day, night
“We are knee-deep right now in rehearsals for
our upcoming spring musical, Legally Blonde: The
Musical. We use the PAC after school every day
from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for our dance, music
and scene rehearsals. We also use the PAC on
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for these
rehearsals as well. This has gone on from the
first week of January until the shows actual
dates in March,” Carrafiello said.
Hammonton Board of Education President Joseph
Giralo has been pleased with the Hammonton High
School Performing Arts Center, and what it
There haven’t been major finances put into the
performing arts center recently, but there have
been some minor upgrades made.
“There is money budgeted all the time. We do
continue with upgrades and lighting and sounds,
not tons of money but we try to do what needs to
be done as we go,” Giralo said.
During the past decade, the facility has put on
high school play performances and has held other
non-related school events such as recitals.
There have been private organizations that have
rented out the performing arts center on
occasion as well, according to Giralo.
“There were ‘50s and ‘60s [type] shows and they
brought some big name stars that are older
nowadays, but they have drawn some nice crowds
there. They are good things and we would like to
see more of that. That is important,” he said.
Compared to the former high school on Liberty
Street, now the middle school, current high
school students and students that have attended
the high school on Old Forks Road during the
past decade have had an advantage with the
performing arts center, especially those seeking
a career in arts and theatre.
Giralo has a great appreciation for the large
stage that is offered for the students at the
high school as well.
“It is night and day compared to the elementary
and middle schools. There is no comparison. When
you couple that with our TV media and everything
that goes on in the high school, it is
absolutely night and day. It is a well done, put
together facility,” Giralo said.
Hammonton school district superintendent Dr. Dan
Blachford likes what he sees from the high
school’s performing arts area, and is excited
about the future of the facility.
“We have done some renovations in there [HHS
Performing Arts Center]. We are very, very
impressed with them. We do have a lot of plans
ahead,” Blachford said.
Supervisor of technology and technology
instruction at HHS, J.C. Martino, outlined
future upgrades for the performing arts center.
It entails the installation of a digital
“The upgrades to the facility look really,
really good. We are more than happy with the
upgrades that have been completed. The company
that did complete them was Spellcaster
[Productions, LLC.], but we do have our vision.
Phase two would consist of the possibility of
installation of a digital video recording system
on zoom cameras around a time setter. Then, the
audio would be outputted from our mixer and we
could record some of our live performances that
could be used for our local access channel,”
Martino sees this plan has a great opportunity
for outside organizations that wish to use the
performing arts center. These organizations
could record their events to be aired on the
local access channel as well.
“We are very big in providing content, if you
will, for the Hammonton community. That would be
a huge upgrade, and that would be during the
phase two of upgrades for that facility,”
Outside organizations have looked at the
facility and have given individuals involved
with the facility, such as Martino, their best
recommendations regarding the quality of cameras
that would need to be purchased and remotely
controlled, according to Martino.
“We are in the process of doing a lot of
research. Our vision is that would occur within
the next six-to-eight months,” he said.
The vision of the technology department, led by
Martino, is to have an actual stage crew operate
shows that take place at the performing arts
center. He would love to have a group of 20
stage crew students, but did acknowledge they
don’t have the technology in place at this point
to make it a reality, but phase two of the
project is approaching.
“What this would allow our kids is to
participate in a more active stage-crew type
group. Basically what I am saying is I would
like our kids to someday be able to control the
lighting system, have an audio technician who is
a student, so it would be more like a stage
crew. We would like to have the digital-video
media stage-crew group that would actually
record the live events. It is definitely a
vision that I have had my eyes on for a long
time, and it is starting to come to fruition
little-by-little,” Martino said.
Managing the dynamics of the audio and the
wireless capabilities of the performing arts
center would be the third phase of the project,
“We have to take a really hard look at how to
really balance that audio. Again, that would be
another group for a stage crew and another area
that they would actually be managing during most
of these events,” he said.
The Hammonton High School Performing Arts Center
has a 12-year history. There have been
renovations that have occurred to this point on
a modest scale, but individuals such as Martino
are envisioning a plan that would take the
facility to the next level from a digital media
and technological level to complement the fine
arts and theater program at the school.