Arts groups converge for spring gala

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2001

Leonard Bernstein will meet William Shakespeare at Juneau-Douglas High School Sunday afternoon.

The Juneau Community Charter School will host the second annual Spring for the Arts Gala this weekend, bringing performers from a variety of Juneau arts groups to the stage to benefit the school. Members of Perseverance Theatre, Theatre in the Rough, The Juneau Symphony, Juneau Lyric Opera and Juneau Dance Unlimited will perform.

In addition, students from all seven grades at the school will deliver several short performances.

Aaron Elmore and Katie Jensen will do a scene for Theatre in the Rough's most recent production, "Hamlet." Students from the Charter School's combined 4th-, 5th- and 6th-grade class will perform a scene from "The Tempest," under the direction of Perseverance Theater's Anita Maynard-Losh.

In the course of a few minutes, about 20 students sing a sea shanty, crew a stormtossed sailing ship, and crash on the rocks. Student Elliott Pillifant plays the evil Duke Antonio in the scene.

"It's really fun, but it's hard because of the language. You really have to enunciate," he said. "I like acting. You get to be a different person."

Several of the Charter School students belong to Lda Kut Naax Sati' Yat Xi, (All Nations Children), a Tlingit Dance group. The group will open the Gala with a performance at 3 p.m.

Members of Juneau Lyric Opera will perform a scene from Bernstein's "Candide," a preview of the production the group is staging in early April. Musicians Betsy Sims and Martha Scott will perform a set, and a wind quintet comprised of four members of the Juneau Symphony will perform a selection of chamber music.

Mike Stark, a JCCS parent and one of the organizers of the Spring for the Arts Gala, said it wasn't difficult to get community artists involved.

"The arts community likes to see children involved in the arts," he said. "Fostering arts in the schools is common sense. That's more people involved in their organizations in the future."

"It's also a way to reach out into the community," he added. "We are a public school. We're not a private school."

Juneau artists also have donated jewelry, paintings, pottery and other artwork for a silent auction to be held during the event. A variety of items will be offered. Desserts and refreshments will be served during the intermission.

The proceeds support the school's music, art and Spanish programs. The Charter School receives some support for core programs from the Juneau School District, but raises about $25,000 a year for additional expenses.

"The budget that we get doesn't cover the music and art or the Spanish language programs," Stark said. "Those are programs that go to the heart of what the charter school is all about."

About 60 students attend the school, which requires about five hours per month of volunteer time from every parent of every child. A volunteer parent governing board also acts in the role of the school principal.

The event also will include performances by the Charter School kindergarten and first grade class and the second and third grade class, under the direction of John Leo. Music teacher GuoHua Xia will lead the two student music groups, the Firefly Fiddlers and the Forget Me Not Fiddlers.

Admission is $12 for adults and $5 for children.

Riley Woodford can be reached at rileyw@juneauempire.com.



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