NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

March 23, 2012

Thanks for supporting Pentucket play

To the Editor:

Bravo to Pentucket's High School theater department for its outstanding production of "The Wizard of Oz." Director Rachel McGowan and the fabulous cast and crew should be commended for a tremendously successful and highly creative collaboration. How wonderful to bring the community together in such a positive way — with a full house on opening night and sell-out crowds for the rest of the run!

And did you hear? David Schumacher and his Pentucket Jazz Combo took Gold at Berklee College of Music's national high school jazz festival! And Anthony Beatrice, Paul Dumas and Lisa Arsenault and the Percussion Ensemble and Winter Guard came in second at the New England Scholastic Band Association Festival this month!

If you were lucky enough to snag one of the hottest tickets in town last weekend to "The Wizard of Oz"— or if your child has benefited from theater, music or visual arts at Pentucket, consider this:

There would be no thriving arts program at Pentucket without the passion and tenacity of Ellen Hart. For 30 years, Ellen championed the arts at Pentucket before retiring last June. As director of arts, she established the theater, jazz and percussion programs. Our Marching Band represented the state at the National Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C. Our students are recognized annually for excellence at the Boston Globe Scholastic Arts Awards. We now have an orchestral strings program, a districtwide band jamboree and digital film classes. Just imagine how colorless life would be for our kids and community if it weren't for Pentucket arts and the tireless contributions of Ellen Hart.

To say "Thank-you, Ellen" PFPAF is establishing the Ellen Burke Hart Scholarship to be awarded annually to a deserving Pentucket artist pursuing a career in arts education. We're very close to reaching our fundraising goal but, like Dorothy in Oz, we need help from our friends to get there. If you believe, as PFPAF does, that the arts have the power to transform lives, please help us by sending your tax-deductible donation today to: PFPAF/EBH Scholarship, PO Box 254, West Newbury, MA 01985.

Elizabeth Callahan, Diane Doyle, Fred Evers, Mary Kemper, Maureen Kolvek, Jennifer Leonard-Solis, Sue Stasiuk

The Pentucket Fine and Performing Arts Board of Directors

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