The first of many magic moments in the new rD arts center
You gave us roots, you gave us wings, I hear the silent voice it sings. You’re welcome home, no matter where you roam. And so this life and all it brings, Won’t find us wDntLng IoU a thing. You gave us roots, you gave us wings. -Dan May
There was a special moment last Thursday evening in the new performing arts center at rpper Dublin High School.
Students from Jarrettown Elementary School and Sandy Run Middle School — under the guidance of choral directors Brian Stoudt and Randi Mount, respectively — combined to accompany Philadelphia singer-songwriter Dan May on his song, “The Gift.”
The song is about parents and what they give to their children. It’s a beautiful song. And when the kids — many, if not all, of whom had their parents in the audience — sang the bridge of the song backing Dan’s vocals, well . . . it was magic.
And I had a unique seat for it all because I was part of the show as well. The event, the fiUsW Ln WKH 8Sper Dublin Education Foundation’s Arts and Lectures Series, was about my book, “Dancing in My rnderwear: The Soundtrack of My Life,” and I was right up there on stage telling stories from the book and yukking it up as much as I could. My talented friend Dan May, who has a chapter devoted to him in the book, and the Dan May Band — Tom Hampton, Rob Schnell and Mike Kurman — provided the fabulous music for the evening.
But that wasn’t the only special moment of the show. Once the elementary and middle school students exited the stage, the rpper Dublin High School music students, under the direction of Nathaniel Arnold, stepped up and absolutely stuck the landings on two Beach Boys songs — “In My Room” and “God Only Knows.”
I will admit to some bias here. I’m a big Beach Boys fan and songs written by the band’s cofounder, Brian Wilson, have been extremely important to me in my life. To hear the students do two of my favorite Beach Boys songs, accompanied by Mr. Arnold on the piano for “God Only Knows,” was a special moment for me as well.
And the event itself was so well-planned and coordinated. Susan Lohoefer, facility and community affairs manager for rpper Dublin School District, es- sentially served as executive producer for the show. And she didn’t miss a detail. Her contribution went largely unrecognized because it was behind-the-scenes and inside baseball, but believe me when I say without Sue, the show wouldn’t have happened.
Ditto for David Toll and Rob Edmondson, the technical brains of the operation, who handled sound, lighting and video for the event. Those guys are real pros and I didn’t see a glitch all evening on the technical side.
The whole thing was the vision of rpper Dublin Superintendent Michael Pladus. He had seen the show at my book launch in June at the Ambler Theater and wanted to know if it could be re-created as a fundraiser for the district’s Education Foundation. Foundation President Art Levinowitz and event coordinators Pam Ryan and Katie Braun provided invaluable support for the show.
,W’s GLIfiFuOW IRU WKRsH RI us who have spent our careers reporting the news to actually be part of the news itself. But that’s what happened to me this time around and I was humbled WR EH SDUW RI RnH RI WKH fiUsW big events in that beautiful and state-of-the-art auditorium.
The bottom line, though, is that it was a honor to share the stage with talented musicians like Dan May; choral directors Nathaniel Arnold, Randi Mount and Brian Stoudt; and the kids themselves, who looked like they had a good time; to work with technical wizards like David Toll and Rob Edmondson; and to get the support from dedicated folks like Dr. Pladus, Dr. Levinowitz, Sue Lohoefer, Pam Ryan and Katie Braun.
And let’s not forget the residents of rpper Dublin, who stepped up and voted for a tax increase some years ago that allowed such a wonderful high school and all its facilities to be built right there in their community. From where I stand folks, you got your money’s worth and then some. The performing arts center alone is worth the price of admission. The next time there’s an event at the center, take some time and go enjoy the facility and the performance.
Before the show even started, during the sound check and rehearsals for the students, I was chatting with Dan on what was unfolding before my eyes.
“I’m still shaking my head that I’m part of this,” I said.
“Yes, you are a lucky man” he countered. Indeed. Well done, rpper Dublin. Well done.
Outta Leftfield Mike Morsch