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SCPA celebrates 40th anniversary, says goodbye to old building

CINCINNATI (Rich Jaffe) -- PENDLETON, Ohio (WKRC) -- This morning, for a moment, the old School for the Creative and Performing Arts came back to life.

That's because members of the alumni association assembled for a last goodbye to their much-loved building.

This place was clearly more than a school to the people who showed up Friday.

With 40 years of emotion and history behind those walls, the old SCPA represents a powerful moment in its time to its 4,000 alumni.

With the theme from "Fame" dancing on the morning breeze, they danced and sang.

Whether they found the fame in the iconic song or not, the talented SCPA alumni and staffers found themselves, each other and a sense of belonging inside the very special place.

Karishma O'Brien was in the last class: 2010.

"Just being in the building itself was probably the most magical thing that's ever happened to me because when you walk in the door you're not in a school, you've entered a new world," she said.

It was just as special for those who were in the first class.

"[I] began my real love affair with jazz to the extent I'm in the process of opening a jazz musical website," says Andrew Kirstein.

Dr. Joy Fowler started teaching at SCPA in 1988. Watching this curtain call moved her to tears.

"I spent most of my professional career here. I know 85 percent of these kids. This is my home, and it's still my heart," said Fowler.

Tim Williams was also in the first class.

"I think without this school the inner city kids here had no other place to go, and it became home. The family here is strong," he said.

It was also a final chance to soar under the direction of long time artistic director, Jack Luiso.

"There are people here who are not just in the arts. [They're] heads of companies; one of them is one of the people who runs a university. They're all over the place. I think it's very exciting that I can call them my students," says Luiso.

One last time they belt out: "Fame!/I want to live forever/I want to learn how to fly!"

While there have been a lot of proposals for what will happen to the old SCPA building, the latest plan is to turn it into apartments.

The nice thing about that is the alumni association is working with the developer and there will be an archive here filled with SCPA memorabilia as well.

For more information, click here.

For SCPA's Facebook page, click here.

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