February 10, 2023
By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Community Resources
DIAMOND BAR, CA—It was a day overflowing with high notes as Walnut Valley USD celebrated the new Diamond Bar High School Instrumental Music Building on Saturday, February 4.
The Thundering Herd Band kicked off a ribbon-cutting ceremony as hundreds gathered to commemorate the towering three-story structure.
Student musicians, proudly led by Directors Steve Acciani and Marie Santos, marched out from the magnificent building to perform center stage.
The official unveiling marked the completion of the nearly $9.8 million construction on the 15,700 square-foot building funded by voter support of Bond Measure WV passed in 2016.
“What a beautiful day on this momentous occasion!” announced Principal Dr. Reuben Jones.
“Our theme this year is Raising the Bar and this building is definitely an example of that!”
Parents, teachers, staff, students, alumni, community members, and local officials attended the opening day event.
“I want to thank our community for passing Measure WV that made this all possible,” shared Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor to the audience teeming with friends and families.
“It’s such a significant mark for our community.”
“And, I want to congratulate our kids – this is all for you!”
After the ceremony, visitors toured the sprawling building with three strategically designed levels to see students rehearsing, performing, and working in the recording studio.
“Enjoy what we think is a world class facility for a world class community for world class students!” Acciani said.
The school’s nationally recognized Instrumental Music program boasts over 600 students with three bands, three orchestras, three color guards, the Performing Arts Academy, marching bands, and drumline.
“We now not only have a Grammy-award winning program, we now have a Grammy-award winning facility that can be represented,” said Board President Cindy Ruiz.
“Thank you to our community for your years of support, both financially and emotionally,” gushed Santos.
“We couldn’t have done this without you!” she said.
The beautiful new building features instrument lockers for individual students, matching professional black chairs, indoor Color Guard facility, three percussion rehearsal rooms, individual practice studios, and a rehearsal room that can convert into a recital hall. In addition, there are two recording studios, one where students can record for All-Southern, All-State, and college auditions, and a second one patterned after the Columbia Records Studio Immersive Audio Listening Room where students will get hands on experience in high end recording engineering.
“I’ve never heard of anything like this in other high schools in the nation!” Santos said.
“Within just one month of being in this amazing facility, we are seeing our students have a stronger sense of pride in our program.”
The opening celebration was a longtime dream come true for Acciani, a veteran 30-year Walnut Valley USD music educator.
“Thank you for being here today, but more importantly, thank you for the decades of support you’ve given to these students,” he shared.
“The building you see before you is so much more than just an edifice. It is a true reflection of the value placed on these kids.”
Acciani also paid tribute to former school leaders, music teachers, and students for their vision and steadfast support during the bond campaign.
“Thank you from all of us at Diamond Bar High School for making us a part of your lives. We will be eternally grateful!” he tearfully added.
“We are so excited to be a part of the first class to use these new facilities and celebrate the arrival of a new age for the program,” said drum major Joseph Wangsa.
“And, we can finally fit our largest ensembles without having to breathe down each other’s necks or hitting each other with bows!” added band president Rachel Yang.
Retired Principal Denis Paul said he wouldn’t have missed the grand opening party.
“This magnificent building will provide an incredible training ground for generations of current and future Brahma musicians,” he shared.
Even Acciani’s old college roommate, Dave Wailes, who was out from New York performing with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, stopped by to celebrate the accomplishment with his friend.
“This is a game changer for an already incredible music program!” he said.
Thank You, Community! Walnut Valley USD marks grand opening of a new Instrumental Music Building at Diamond Bar High School on Feb. 4.
Strike up the Band! Diamond Bar High Thundering Herd Band, under the direction of Steve Acciani and Marie Santos, opens ceremony for the new Instrumental Music Building on Feb. 4.
Open House! Visitors saw students rehearsing and practicing in the new Diamond Bar High Instrumental Music Building on Feb. 4.
A jazz ensemble performs during Diamond Bar High ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Walnut Valley USD marks completion of Diamond Bar High Instrumental Music Building during Feb. 4 ceremony.