For Love, Not Money
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Photography: Courtesy of St. Thomas Playhouse and Heather Black; Boulder Mountain Clayworks, Sun Valley Summer Symphony; Caritas Chorale
Every musician, every artist, every talented person had a childhood. Thanks to these organizations and others like them, our Valley’s children can explore their talents early, or return to them later in life. Amateur or professional, if your heart is in the arts, the opportunities to sate your desires are all here.
St. Thomas Playhouse
St. Thomas Playhouse was founded seven years ago by St. Thomas Episcopal Church’s former rector, the Rev. Brian Baker, with Dick Brown serving as musical director, Sara Gorby as education director and Anna Johnson as artistic director. The idea was to provide opportunities to enrich the spiritual lives of children, youth and adults by presenting plays, musicals and summer camp programs that celebrate the human experience, build relationships and explore theological and real-life themes. Programs include: Intergenerational Family Musicals, Touring Children’s Theater, A Summer Theater Project for Youth and Young Adults, Company B Performing Arts Day Camp and our Summer Performing Arts Conservatory Sleep-away Camp. More than 200-plus children, youth and adults participate in programs per year, and more than 3,000 audience members attend their productions on an annual basis. The programs offer another avenue to building bonds in our growing and changing community. Nearly 80 percent of the funding goes directly to the program. Fundraisers and regular donors comprise the budget and volunteers absorb the administrative and actual work. The St. Thomas Playhouse Charter Committee of Rebecca Waycott, Kris Miller, Heather Black and Jane Reynolds lead the volunteer base. Volunteers are always invited to join in the fun as actors, singers, dancers, ushers, box office, scenery building and more. For more information call 208.726.5349 ext. 13.
Now in its 10th year, the Caritas Chorale was founded by Dick Brown—conductor and musical director—to encourage and promote musical education and appreciation in the Wood River Valley, free of charge. They accomplish this through the establishment of a non-denominational community chorus, presenting performances of classical and traditional choral music with instrumental accompaniment as appropriate. Caritas strives especially to promote choral music appreciation and education in our community schools. This organization directly benefits our area songbirds who wow audiences with several free concerts each year. The entire economy benefits as Caritas draws from the Boise Philharmonic to engage an orchestra, soloists and fans to the Valley several times a year as well. Caritas Chorale is the Valley’s premier choral ensemble that feels like family. As such, they are always willing to step up to provide support to the community in times of national grief or need. In their 10 years, they have performed approximately 20 major choral works as well as holiday sing-alongs and collections of traditional music. They uniquely commissioned an original choral work to celebrate Lewis and Clark’s meeting of the original inhabitants of Idaho, and many of the singers have spent their own money to take American music on three separate tours of Europe. For more information call 208.726.6602.
Boulder Mountain Clayworks
Boulder Mountain Clayworks, Inc., was started by Susan Ward in 1996 because she was a clay artist without a place to work and, soon after opening her doors, she found she was hardly alone. She created a space for like-minded artists to share ideas, grow and thrive in a creative atmosphere and soon realized that she could reach children as well. Subsequently, the studio began holding numerous classes after school and clay camps in the summer months. They have worked with the YMCA and Sun Valley Adaptive Sports to provide special classes for their youth. Theme classes and family nights are crowd-pleasers for all skill levels. Boulder Mountain Clayworks holds free lectures, has an annual Studio Potters Holiday show and sale, and hosts the annual Empty Bowls project benefiting the Idaho Food Bank. Nesbit Hatch, Pam Sabel, Martha Hollenhorst and Marjolaine Renfro are counted as tireless volunteers. Boulder Mountain Clayworks occupies a special niche in our community’s arts. Open 12 hours each day and on weekends, experienced potters are always on hand to help the inexperienced. Ward would like to see other disciplines like painting and etching model similar programs so artists will have access to studios that keep their hands on art. For more information call 208.726.4484 or visit www.bouldermtnclay.com.
Sun Valley Summer Symphony
This year, Sun Valley Summer Symphony celebrated 24 years of bringing free classical music to the Wood River Valley with the debut of its new pavilion. Providing free concerts every summer to the entire community is what they are widely known for, but what is less obvious is what they accomplish for the area’s youth behind the scenes. Education director Kim Gasenica, with the support of Judy Smooke, vice president of education for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony Board, ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy and perform classical music with their School of Music programs and week-long Summer Music Workshops. Through private lessons, outreach programs in string, voice and piano, partnerships with local music teachers in Blaine County schools and developmental music programs, the Sun Valley Summer Symphony proves their dedication to promoting the personal growth of future musicians. To contact Sun Valley Summer Symphony Summer Music Camps call 208.622.5607 or visit www.svsummersymphony.org. >>>