Speakout!

Your Opinions

November 20, 2005

THE ISSUE: -- In the next few weeks, many Howard County public high schools will present theater productions. What do you enjoy about these productions, and do you think that they receive enough support from schools and communities?

`We do love our high school theater!'

You wanted to know what we enjoy about high school theater -- everything.

We are amazed at these productions and what these kids accomplish. We are impressed with our teacher directors, and in awe of our students' commitment! The hours spent working on set construction, lighting, props, choreography, makeup, costumes, voice lessons and rehearsals are countless -- and it shows because we are repeatedly "wowed" show after show, year after year.

We are pleased that our Howard County theater departments celebrate high school theater via the Cappies. This program offers our students wonderful opportunities to attend high school productions throughout Howard and Baltimore counties, write reviews and have them published in local newspapers, attend the Cappies Gala at the Hippodrome and to perform with their cast on stage at the Hippodrome. It's the equivalent of playing in a state high school sport championship at College Park -- but much more glitzy!

We were recently enthralled by River Hill's Wizard of Oz, and are very much looking forward to being captivated tonight by Mount Hebron's Sound of Music! We do love our high school theater!

Sue Tompkins

Woodstock

Drama programs deserve applause

What's an overture? Who's the choreographer? When's intermission? For close to the price of a movie, we can introduce our youngsters to live theater, thanks to the preprofessional quality Howard County high school drama programs.

Long before my son had an opportunity to act, sing and dance in a show, he was seated in the audience, captivated by the energy of the legendary Mount Hebron High School productions. With the introduction of the "Cappies" program, student reviewers get to hone their critical writing skills, and actors get to perform in places like the Hippodrome.

The Howard County school system drama programs deserve our applause, because they build audiences for regional and national theaters. And I wouldn't be surprised if they build the talent to perform in them, too.

Janet Gilbert

Woodstock

High school theater needs more support

We appreciate the support of The Sun for the Cappies organization. The Sun has served as a conduit for Howard County high school students to express their critical opinions of fellow students' performances at other local schools in their dramatic presentations.

It is a shame, however, that the local community and frequently the Howard County school system, does not support their students in the same fashion as The Sun. All too often the auditoriums are only partially occupied for the student performances. Budgets for plays are contingent upon the economic base of the local school: the wealthy get the financial support while the less well off receive little or no monetary equity. The wealthy schools have incredible costume and set budgets while the poor schools have to rely on the volunteer efforts of working parents to make costumes and sets for their students.

There has and always will be a disparity between athletic programs and the arts in our schools. Few people really understand the amount of work, effort and discipline that is required to complete a play. Our students and their parents should support the efforts of the drama clubs as well as their sports teams. The participants are working in both efforts for the good of the school as well as the personal satisfaction of performing, whether on a playing field or stage.

John Barry

Millers

Performing-arts funding rise urged

I am a 1980 grad of Centennial High and attend several Howard County High School Theater productions each year. I believe drama and other performing arts programs are a vital part of a student's education. I believe that the school system leadership should be encouraged to recognize the importance of performing arts programs by providing a funding increase and moral support to be equal to, if not more than, the amount provided for sports teams.

Performing arts programs provide a means for students to participate in an educational, entertaining program that teaches the values of teamwork, camaraderie, courtesy and fair play, similar to sports teams. However, performing arts programs are more accessible and more important to a student's education than sports programs. The performing arts provides opportunities to practically apply lessons learned in the classroom.

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