FAME MAY ONLY COME to some - say, the guy
picked by "The Bachelorette" on television last week
- for fifteen minutes, but at Sunol Glen School it comes six
times each and every school year. Sunol moms Miki Whitfield
and Paulette Beemiller have evolved FAME, the Fine Arts and
Music Education program, into a real happening for the students.
Not satisfied with simply playing a piece of music and showing
a work of art, these terrific volunteers create a memorable
The program takes place in the auditorium, with three classes
at a time as the audience. Most recently, the students were
introduced to the genius of Vincent van Gogh through his evocative
"Starry Night," and the powerful music of Gustave
Holst's most notable work, "The Planets."
Miki and Paulette modify the content to make it age appropriate
for their audience, which, in this case, meant explaining Van
Gogh's mental imbalance to six-year-olds. I'm telling you, these
ladies are awesome. The students learned about Van Gogh's use
of complementary and analogous colors to express mood, as well
as the elements of line and texture.
Holst's composition gave musical representation to only seven
of the nine planets; he did not include Earth, and when he created
the work in 1914, Pluto had not yet been discovered. Student
volunteers from the audience were costumed to represent the
planets and, in the upper grades, were challenged to guess which
planet each movement of the music represents. The fabulous FAME
docents explored the mythological personalities of the planets
and the concept of dynamics in musical composition.
I know I've written about this program before, but I can't
say enough about the value of volunteer commitment like that
of Miki and Paulette. They always go the extra mile, and have
been doing so for many years. The joy they find in giving of
their time and creativity is inspiring. Next month, they're
featuring "The Wedding March" from "Lohengrin"
by Richard Wagner, and Modigliani's "Bride and Groom."
Miki told me they're calling the presentation "My Big Fat
FAME Wedding," spoofing the popular film. I'm planning
on slipping into the auditorium for this one!
THE MELODRAMA WITHIN: As the sands of time sift through
the hourglass, so go the days of Sunol Repertory Theatre. Like
any good soap opera, you can count on an SRT season for as much
excitement behind the scenes as on the stage. Cattle Clare has
become Cattle Clark, or Carl, or Clay
the name is yet to
be decided, but the gender is clear, the story's cattle rancher
is now a fella.
No, we're not THAT soapy - it's not a transgender story line
or anything, but Summer Sandlin, cast as Cattle Clare, has left
the role due to her commitment to her college classes and part-time
job. Klay Kunkel, who joined SRT last year as a member of the
technical crew, has stepped into the part; thus, the cattle-driving
girl became a cattle-driving guy. Klay, a Kilkare Woods resident
and researcher for Lam Corporation in Fremont, will still help
out with technical duties as his stage role allows.
SEGUE TO CREW: Speaking of technical duties (ooh, smooth
transition, huh?), I promised to introduce SRT's handy crew
this week. The versatile and dedicated Derek Johnson will once
again take charge at Technical Director. Derek is part of a
small group of Sunolians who have created the faux company,
"Somebody's Gotta Do It," and whatever it is, community
service-wise, he does it.
Derek's crew this year includes Sunol Glen grad and Foothill
High School freshman Martin Smith, who has been involved in
SRT since he was knee-high to a cricket. He started out renting
pillows to audience members for 25 cents to soften the wooden
auditorium chairs, moved on to the tech crew, and surprised
us all with his acting chops in last season's "Caught in
the Villain's Gaze."
Patrick Foster, also a Sunol Glen grad and now a Foothill High
senior, will once again man the video camera to record the shows.
Tech veteran Greg Davis will help out in the booth as he's done
the past eight years, and Mike Brown joins the crew for his
first taste of SRT fun. The estimable Irv Tiessen will again
contribute his prop making mastery.
Last I heard, there was a new episode of our pre-season soap
opera involving Laurie Walker's dog grooming duties causing
her to give up her part as Kay Nien, possibly leading to Stage
Manager Barbara Egbert stepping into the role
tune in next
week, same time, same paper!