August 10, 2001

William Virchis Becomes Sweetwater District's First Director of Visual and Performing Arts

Renowned artistic director William Virchis is joining the Sweetwater Union High School District as the Director of Visual and Performing Arts.

Virchis brings decades of success to the newly created position. As an artistic director for both professional and amateur theater —at the Old Globe Theater and Southwestern College— Virchis is the unique combination of teacher and visionary to enhance the Sweetwater district's wide range of culturally diverse performing arts programs.

"All those who have seen the plays and musicals that Bill has directed know that he is passionate about the arts," said Sweetwater Board President Bob Griego. "More importantly, Bill creates that same passion in his students and pushes them to apply that enthusiasm to their academics as well as to their craft."

Virchis, who has been a theater professor at Southwestern College for 25 years, will oversee the more than 60 major visual and performing arts programs, as well as administer the dozens of smaller programs in the Sweetwater district. He will also be responsible for promoting and evaluating the district's fine arts programs.

"This is a dream come true for me," said Virchis, who is a graduate of Chula Vista High School. "I can take all this wonderful experience I have from the college and create an even bigger impact. This will truly be a team where everybody has a part."

Virchis has earned the respect of his teaching and theater peers. He has received the California Center for the Arts Foundation Achievement Award given by the Governing Board and faculty of Southwestern College. Virchis directed the world college premiere of the musical "Mariachi Quixote," which was the first American musical to feature a mariachi band.

Such experience complements the Sweetwater district's longstanding commitment to the arts as an additional way to keep students connected to school and academics. Nearly half the district's 35,000 seventh-through twelfth-grade students are involved in programs ranging from ballet folklórico and mariachi to traditional band and show choirs. Sweetwater's excellent reputation has attracted arts partnership with such prestigious groups as the Old Globe and the San Diego Symphony.

Return to the Frontpage