Recent Letters to the Editor:
'Grease' is the word on school support
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
To standing ovations from a packed house, the Southern Berkshire Regional School District’s production of "Grease" delivered a clear message this past weekend why support for our schools is so critical.
As I said to SBRSD’s artistic director, Travis Daly, if I didn’t know the students, I would have assumed they were professionals from the School of the Performing Arts (the "Fame" high school). The talent was extraordinary! A fourth-grade instructor/professional dancer, Tom Masters, choreographed a program that had the audience cheering after each routine (our students easily out-hand-jived anyone in Broadway’s "Grease"). At intermission, at the end of the show, on Facebook and in town, I kept on hearing how we put on a thoroughly enjoyable, professional production equal to or exceeding most regional theater.
All this does not happen by accident. Our district has the ability to nurture talent. SBRSD is fortunate to have an administration and communities that support the arts along with outstanding academic, career and sports programs. Just last week, the Eagle reported that The National Association of Music Merchants [NAMM] Foundation named the district one of its 2014 "Best Communities for Music Education." We are fortunate to live in an environment where businesses more often than not say yes when asked to help.
Contributions from businesses such as Herrington’s, the Marketplace Cafe, and Kwik Print helped control costs. A grant from the Eagle Fund of the Taconic Foundation helped underwrite show production. Tickets were donated to senior centers to make it possible for community members to enjoy an evening’s entertainment as part of the district’s commitment to involve seniors in our schools. Mt. Everett parents ensured students had what they needed to make it through the rehearsal schedule with grades and emotions intact. The one downside of the weekend was that Mt. Everett’s state-champion robotics team had to miss the show as members were in York, Pa. reaching the semi-finals in the East Regional competition.
This is all a long way of saying that as we approach our annual town meetings, look carefully at what our schools mean to our communities. I believe that the talented SBRSD staff, supported by the school administration, and the increasingly positive community involvement in our schools, is excelling at providing our children with the skills and knowledge necessary for students to succeed in all areas of their lives. This cannot continue without our support for our district.
E. BONNIE SILVERS
The writer is vice chairman of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District’s School Committee.
Community effort to support the arts
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Is there a better way to experience community than witnessing young people performing?
This weekend in Sheffield hundreds of people came through the doors of Mt Everett High School to see a knockout showing of Grease.
What they were really seeing is a community that supports the arts. The cast did a great job and behind the scenes were the adults and community members that time and again deliver for our kids. We had a director who knows the kids and was once a kid in our district, Kathyjo Grover.
Our choreographer Tom Masters is a professional dancer and a teacher in our New Marborough School. Julie Chamberlain has produced quality costumes for many of our shows and raised two children in our district's schools. Carmen Maria Mandley was introduced to our district through the Fall Festival of Shakespeare and continues to teach our children professional stagecraft. Ralph Petillo is adored by our students and keeps coming back to work with our community. Travis Daly has consistently put together all the pieces that have made our theater offerings so rich for many years now.
We had teachers on the stage, cheerleaders joining the cast, and students, as well as community members and teachers in a great pit band. I am proud of our school and proud of our community.
South Egremont, Ma