July 4, 2020
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Burton Recreation Center gets a new look

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
February 1, 2019

The Burton Recreation Center received a fresh new coat of paint inside its rooms this month thanks to the Rohnert Park Community Chorale who received a $2,000 grant from the Rohnert Park Foundation to beautify the center.

“The Burton Rec Center had a lot of deferred maintenance and the interior of the building was looking very sad,” says Cheri Cybulski, President of the Rohnert Park Community Chorale. “About a year ago the chorale started practicing and rehearsing there. We were going there every Tues. evening and had two performances there but it only took six months for me to say “something has to happen to this building.’”

A few years ago the City of Rohnert Park had received a grant to replace the lighting in the recreation center and the old fluorescent lights were upgraded to new LED lights. While this helped improve the lighting inside, it also left all the trim from around the outside of the old lights along the ceilings and walls. When Cybulski heard about the Rohnert Park Foundation small grants program she jumped on the opportunity to apply in hopes of painting and beautifying the interior of the building. 

They did receive the grant and on the weekend of Jan. 18 through 21, ten different volunteers came to take the old trim down, paint the base boards and upper trim, and of course give all of the rooms including the lobby, kitchen and the main room a fresh coat of paint. The old, drab, mustard-yellow paint was replaced with a fresh creamy white coat. Besides Cybulski and her husband Ray, they also received help from Karen and Dennis Ball, Bill Sikorski, Andrea Bosworth, Mitchell Cate, Helen Gunderson, Carl Leivo, and Mary Hanna.

The recreation center is not only used by the Rohnert Park Community Chorale, but the Rohnert Park Community Band also rehearses there and throughout the year the rooms are used by other classes, weddings, parties and quinceaneras. Cybulski hopes the beautification project will encourage more use and renting of the recreation center.

“The hope is, now that is has been made pretty, that there will be more events there,” says Cybulski, “and that the city will be able to rent it out.” 

The Rohnert Park Community Chorale was founded over 30 years ago by Margot Godolphin who led the group as its director for most of that time until she retired and Karen Ball took over the role of director in 2014. Today, there are 17 members in the group.

“Karen is just a wonderful director,” says Cybulski. “She really reaches in and pulls out the best of us. We’ve improved so much since she took us over. We actually received a standing ovation last June.”

The group accepts teens and adults and sings jazz, Broadway tunes, ballads and more at two major performances held every June and Dec. for the benefit of the whole community. They have also performed at a number of community events including Rohnert Park Founder’s Day, the Expressway Christmas Tree lighting, Memorial and Veterans Day ceremonies and Spreckel’s Family Fun Event, as well as at schools, churches, senior residential homes and service clubs.

“We’re always looking to expand,” says Cybulski. “We’re looking for new singers all the time. We have auditions – it’s more of a voice placement and to make sure that you can hold your pitch. You don’t need to be able to read music, although it’s helpful.”

Auditions for the spring season is coming up Feb. 5. The group rehearses every Tues. night at the Burton Recreation Center from 7 to 9 p.m. and the audition on the first day will be held at 6 p.m. Interested participants can visit their site on Facebook under Rohnert Park Chorale.

“What keeps me participating is that I love to sing,” says Cybulski who has been with the group since 2007. “I love to perform and it has become another little part of my family. We’re close. We have something we call the lunch bunch where we go out once a month to celebrate that month’s birthdays. We do fun things like parties at the end of the seasons. It’s a social club too.”