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home : insight & opinion : letters to the editor February 05, 2016

3/22/2006 4:17:00 PM
Unit 2 arts program "accomplishes the impossible" again

Editor:

Several years ago my wife and I witnessed a performance of "Les Miserables" by the Drama Club of Robinson High School under the direction of Barbara Shimer. I went to this performance mainly out of loyalty to the director, not expecting to see a very professional rendition of this extremely complicated musical. I had seen productions of the musical in London, the University of Illinois and St. Louis, and was prepared to endure the more-than-two-hour performance. I was stunned and emotionally stirred by the stellar production by teenagers on a stage in the old high school. No wing space, no fly space for sets, limited budget, a borrowed sound system, and other impediments did nothing to detract from or impede the tremendous result. This production marked the beginning of the RHS Drama Club accomplishing the impossible. Since that time I have reveled in the productions of "The King and I," "Amahl and the Night Visitors" and this past Sunday the unbelievably superb production of Elton John's "Aida."

The stage in the cafetorium is not ideal for the staging of any kind of production, but the Drama Club pulled off another awe-inspiring production. People in the community helped by sponsoring costumes, helping with set construction, and cash donations. More importantly they supported the production with standing-room-only attendance. My wife and I arrived at the high school at 1 p.m. to acquire seats close to the stage. The sets, the costumes, the choreography, the orchestra, the segues between scenes, the solos, the ensembles, the acting would be a credit to any college production. Once more, accomplishing the impossible has been something this community has come to expect. This is not all there is to say about the Drama Club of RHS. One must look at the total fine-arts programs that are turned out by the teachers in Unit 2.

Sandra Nichols accomplishes in 20-minute sessions what other schools cannot accomplish with full-period rehearsals. She does this in abbreviated sessions allocated to the activities period, knowing that a full attendance is not always possible because some of the singers have other obligations during this time. I recently attended the adjudications at Villa Grove for the students of this district. The judges were amazed at the performances from RHS, not realizing the crowded schedule of the students and teachers.

To be included In this tribute to the fine-arts program are Joe Smith and the RHS band program; Michael Emmerich, retired but still supporting and contributing to the music program; and Brenda Graham, who has, for years, readied the grade-school students in Washington and Lincoln elementary schools for their entrance into Nuttall Middle School and RHS. There is a new band instructor at NMS and I am anxious to see his production of "Music Man." I wonder, though, just how many people of Robinson, how many school board members are cognizant of the abilities of our children, our fine-arts instructors, and the contributions made to this community. I urge everyone to support these young people with as much fervor, with your attendance as you do the athletic program.

Dr. Don Runyan

Robinson







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