A dramatic approach to fund raising

Acting: Severna Park drama students open youths' minds and help further their dreams.

Education Beat

News from Anne Arundel County schools and colleges

July 03, 2005|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Olivia Talbot, 9, of Severna Park wasn't sure what she liked best about the theater camp she attended at Severna Park High School last week.

"We get to do singing," she said, as she took a break from decorating a T-shirt with colorful ribbons. "We learned how to be a mime yesterday." And already, she said, she had learned "facial expressions and where to stand for acting."

The Falcon Musical Theatre Camp, named for the high school mascot, seemed to cover all aspects of theater, from singing, dancing and acting to makeup, costume design, pantomime and puppeteering.

Angie Germanos, who teaches theater arts and French at the high school during the school year, was in charge of the camp, which ran last week.

But high school students, about a dozen of them, did most of the organizing and instruction, she noted. "I'm just overseeing their work," she said.

The culmination of all the activity was a show scheduled for noon Friday in the school's auditorium. "That's the big draw - they get to be up on the big stage," Germanos said.

All 35 or so campers in the program, ranging in age from 5 to 12, were to perform in the revue of songs and skits. Highlights were to include the 10- to 12-year-olds singing "Summer Nights," from Grease, the 8- and 9-year-olds performing "Hard-Knock Life," from Annie, and the youngest group acting out skits, she said.

The camp, offered for the first time this summer, was a fund-raiser for the school's drama department, which is trying to raise enough money to compete in the National High School Theatre Festival, Germanos said.

This year, her high school performers qualified for the six-day national competition, held in College Park, but didn't have the $500 per student necessary to attend, she said.

The camp is raising money for 2006. "Even if half of their tuition was paid, that would help out," Germanos said.

The camp included an hour of acting, an hour of dancing and an hour of singing each day. In the afternoon, kids learned such theater-related arts as mask-making and pantomime.

It turned out to be so popular that Germanos is thinking of offering two sessions next summer. "We had to turn away people," she said.

On Wednesday, 8- and 9-year-olds in the auditorium were making costumes, using oversized T-shirts, ribbons and lots of fabric. Others were trying on costumes from a rack that contained child-sized ball gowns and royal-looking robes and crowns.

Folding tables had been set up with materials for the kids, and counselors were helping glue the decorations to the shirts.

"I'm going to do a song with one of the counselors," said 8-year-old Brooke Avedon. "`Zippity Do Dah.' I thought it would be fun, and I know a dance to it."

About a half-dozen parents were also volunteering their time, said Mary Roell, whose child will be a junior at Severna Park in the fall. "The teen-aged counselors have done a great job," Roell said, as she glued a triangle-shaped piece of gold fabric to a red shirt. "We try not to do too much," she said of the parent helpers.

Rosemary Mearman, who will be in 10th grade next year, said she has been pleasantly surprised at how comfortable the young campers seem to be on stage. "I'm surprised that so many of them want to have solo parts in the show," she said.

Overall, the campers have been eager to participate, but she said some were starting to get bored rehearsing the same songs day after day.

Mearman, who has been in several school plays, said the camp is a valuable fund-raising tool.

Gabby Vance, 9, of Severna Park likes the theater camp so much she hopes to do it again next year. "It's really fun," she said. "I like acting a lot."

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