Juanita High School's performing arts recaps year

This has been quite a year for performing arts at Juanita High School, with Bruce Gutgesell as band director, Kim Merkely as orchestra director, Ashleigh Hasslinger as choral director and Elizabeth McMurray-Hauk as theater director.

"HONK!" started things off with a brilliant collaboration between drama and music that set the stage for a year full of promise. Classes, concerts, workshops, contests and events have given many opportunities for the talented musicians and theater students of Juanita to shine.

On the music scene Juanita has a number of students who competed at the Washington Interscholastic Activity Association (WIAA) State Solo and Ensemble Contest held in April at Central Washington University. The students qualified as a result of their success at the regional competition. Chris Carlson, Ameer Ghassemi and Chris Heffernan demonstrated their percussion skills as the Snare Drum Trio. Soloists include: Allison Jaeger, tenor saxophone; Chris Carlson, snare drum; Scott Douglass, guitar; Alex Cain, vocals; and Tessa Salo, bass clarinet. In addition, both our concert band and symphonic band received all superior ratings (highest rating) at our regional band festivals held in March.

Juanita drama's most recent production, "The Brick and the Rose," received a double superior at the Thespian State Conference, and went on to perform six shows in the Juanita Theatre to standing ovations. This deeply emotional and challenging show was, in itself, a rewarding journey for everyone involved, but the experience found new meaning when the author of the play, Lewis John Carlino, came to closing night.

Carlino came backstage and sat and talked with the members of the play company after the show had ended. He told the drama students that they were "brave souls filled with beauty." He said they brought the play to life with discipline and craft.

Carlino wrote "The Brick and the Rose 50 years ago, when he was 23 years old. He told the drama students that he had not seen "The Brick and the Rose" on stage for over 30 years and thanked the company for an experience he 'had waited half a century for.'

Juanita Performing Arts looks forward to putting the finishing touches on what has truly been a remarkable year with final performances and concerts at the High School.[[In-content Ad]]