Talent show goes on despite school bomb scare Students take performance across street after note is found at George Fox

March 26, 1998|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Performing arts students from across the county weren't daunted by a bomb scare yesterday that forced them out of George Fox Middle School, where they were in the middle of showing off their talent.

With no stage, no music and no microphones, they gathered in a park across from the school and entertained an audience of about 200 students, parents and teachers by singing and dancing underneath a partly cloudy sky on a mild afternoon.

The students, all of whom studied performing arts this year, had gathered at the school, on Outing Avenue in Pasadena, for the annual countywide performing arts showcase, which was to be XTC an all-day event. About 50 students from 11 middle schools were involved in the show, which was interrupted before 1 p.m. when a note threatening a bomb was found in a school staircase.

George Fox Principal Kevin Dennehy ended a rendition of "My Heart Will Go On" by three Magothy River Middle students when he announced over the school intercom in the middle of their performance that students would have to evacuate.

The students gathered in Havenwood Park, across the street from the school, the place they had used as an evacuation site twice before this year, and stood for a while, wondering whether the last eight performers would get their chance in the spotlight.

"We said it looks like we're through, but somebody said the show must go on," said Bonnie Schupp, the enrichment teacher at George Fox. "Everybody grabbed hold of that idea. The kids made an audience area and a stage area, and the announcers continued to announce the performers.

"It kind of warmed the heart," said Schupp, who added that students usually respond angrily to the bomb threats that have troubled county schools all year. Detectives have solved 40 of the 111 bomb threats this year.

"I think my throat still hurts from having to yell to get everybody's attention," said Kevin Meek, 12, co-master of ceremonies with Ryan Ritter, 13..

"We didn't have tape decks or anything," Kevin said. "We had to leave all that inside."

The dancers who remained on the program had the benefit of a cooperative audience. When it was time for them to perform, the students who knew the show tunes -- such as C&C Music Factory's "Everybody Dance Now" -- sang and clapped.

The singers, including Jenny Swagert, Rachael Turanski and Mandy Corley, the three Magothy River Middle students whose performance was interrupted by the scare, weren't quite as lucky.

"They just had to sing as loud as they can," Ryan said. "Everybody was being quiet so they could hear them."

At the end of each performance, the students cheered each other.

Pub Date: 3/26/98

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