Posts Tagged ‘student performance’

Soloists Shine in “Young Virtuosity” Concert

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra will play The Firebird Suite at 2 p.m. today

“The two soloists from the concert last night did remarkably well,” said Maurice Mysenberg, a college professor from La Habra.

He and his friend, Priscilla, drove more than two hours to hear the “Young Virtuoisty” concert at Idyllwild Arts Saturday night, Feb. 5. The final performance will be held today at 2 p.m.

“After his solo, the young man (Xiao Fan) took a bow, but kept a smile on his face throughout the rest of the concert,” Maurice added.

Priscilla said that Maxine, the other soloist, obviously had a command of the piano, and played beautifully.

From where they were seated in the audience (second rise, left side) they could see the entire stage, with a good view of the piano.

“Her fingering on the keyboard was just incredible,” added Maurice, who is learning to play piano later in life.

Last night, they switched the program around to let Xiao play first, Maurice noted. He couldn’t get over how young both of the soloists were compared to their proficiency.

Today, Xiao will be playing Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47, while Maxine will play Franz List’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Major. Both pieces are the ones that helped them win the annual Concerto Competition.

Xiao (at left with Peter Askim) will be playing Sibelius' Violin Concerto in D Minor

The second half of today’s concert features “The Firebird Suite” from the 1910 ballet by Igor Stravinsky (which was choreographed by Michel Fokine). It is based on Russian folk tales of the firebird, a magical glowing bird that is considered both a blessing and a curse to its captor.

Maurice said the harp and the enhanced brass section (with guest artists) made “The Firebird Suite” sound wonderful.

Since the music was created for ballet, this part of the concert has piqued the interest of many of the school’s dancers.

Amira, a sophomore dance major, was looking forward to the concert. Last night, she was rushing back to her dorm room to change after a long day of dance auditions in Long Beach.

“It’s always great to hear ballet music performed live,” Amira said.

The final performance of the “Young Virtuosity!” Concert will be held today (Sunday, Feb. 6) at 2 p.m.  The concert is free and open to the public, but come early to get a seat. It will be held in the IAF Theater (located inside the Bowman Building) on the Idyllwild Arts campus, at the end of Tollgate Road. For more information, call (951) 659-2171, or visit www.idyllwildarts.org.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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Young Virtuosity! Concert Showcases Violin & Piano

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Xiao Fan (at L with Peter Askim), will play a violin solo during the "Young Virtuosity!" orchestra concert this weekend

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“Young Virtuosity!” Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra Concert, will showcase two of their own, Xiao Fan on violin and Xue or “Maxine” on piano. Both will be playing the pieces that helped them win the annual Concerto Competition. Xiao will be playing Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47, while Maxine will play Franz List’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Major.

At the school lunchroom recently, Maxine admitted to being a little nervous about her upcoming solo.

“I don’t know why! She knows her music!” said her friend, and they both laughed.

Xiao and Maxine are both juniors this year, so this may not be the last time you will hear them play. But you don’t want to miss this performance. You can always claim, “I saw them when . . . ”

Last year, as a sophomore, Maxine performed at Piano Fest, an all-piano concert held on Jan. 18 in the IAF Theater (see Piano Fest blog post, dated Jan. 22). “Fantasy on Porgy and Bess,” with selections from Gershwin and Grainger, capped off that evening. Anni, Bohan, Meiling and Maxine took turns playing on two back-to-back grand pianos during this popular ensemble. Their rendition of “Summertime” warmed the crowd on the rainy evening.

Camille (shown last year with A-Tao) is excited about playing Stravinsky's Firebird Suite

Both Xiao and Maxine accompanied other music students during the end-of-the-year recitals last year. (Actually, as a pianist, Maxine is paired with students to help them with their auditions and recitals).

Xiao helped Henry, another violin player, during his junior recital last year  (see blog post, “Fast Fingers at Junior Recitals,” dated Feb. 24.) The four friends, Henry, RoGue, Ai Ching, XO and Xiao played Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet.

Although this Saturday and Sunday’s “Young Virtuosity!” performance will appear seamless, it comes with lots of hard work and dedication from the orchestra students, and especially the soloists, Xiao and Maxine.

“They have to prepare for this concert, in addition to doing all of their regular schoolwork, attending classes, orchestra practice and small group practices,” said one music staff member. “And they just got done with finals last week.”

But don’t think that they’re too stressed to play. These young musicians crave attention from a live audience.

“We get to play the Firebird Suite!” exclaimed Camille, an oboe player, about the second part of the “Young Virtuosity!” concert.

The 1910 ballet by Igor Stravinsky (and choreographed by Michel Fokine) is based on Russian folk tales of the firebird, a magical glowing bird that is considered both a blessing and a curse to its captor.

Early on, not all of the music students were excited about Stravinsky’s Suite. Some have admitted that their parts are difficult, and they’re struggling a bit.
“Some parts might be difficult, if you have a solo or something,” said Wu Shan, a post-graduate cello player. “But the Firebird Suite is not hard for me.”

Idyllwild Arts Orchestra warms up

Wu Shan hasn’t played the Firebird Suite until just recently, but at 19, he’s been playing the cello for 15 years. He started in China at age 4, and just returned his tiny, first cello to his former teacher, so that another young student could learn to play.

Xiao, Maxine, Camille, Wu Shan and all of the orchestra students will be on stage at the “Young Virtuosity!” Concerts held this Saturday, Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m. Both performances are free and open to the public at the IAF Theater (inside the Bowman Building) on the Idyllwild Arts campus, at the end of Tollgate Road. For more information, call (951) 659-2171, or visit www.idyllwildarts.org.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Student Chamberfest a Surprise & Delight

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

This quintet, which included a 14-year-old prodigy, played Shuber's "The Trout"

By Marcia E. Gawecki

The Student Chamberfest Recital on Wednesday evening, August 18, showcased five soloists and five chamber acts in a relaxed, indoor/outdoor setting at Stephens Recital Hall. Most of the audience members were faculty, staff and friends who had just celebrated the final potluck of the summer. The mood was happy, relaxed, and the students didn’t disappoint them. There were some surprises that included a 14-year-old prodigy and several broken drum heads.

First up was a trombone quartet that played “Achieved in the Glorious Work,” by F.J. Haydn. The group, which included Karl, Allison Jason and Micah, started immediately, and played without pretense.

“That was well done,” exclaimed Andrew Leeson, a writing teacher at Idyllwild Arts Academy, who attended many of the concerts this summer. “A trombone is not an exact instrument and they hit every note.”

When Kevin finished, the audience got to their feetThe next student playing a solo was Kevin, on French horn. He was accompanied by Edith Orloff, a faculty piano teacher. Kevin stood the entire time and played “Concerto in E-flat Major, K 495,” by Mozart. If you were to close your eyes, his horn sounded like a trombone at times. Afterwards, many people in the audience got to their feet, which surprised the young man.

The next soloist was actually a duo playing “Toccata,” by Koppel. It included Lindsey on vibraphone and Lauren on marimba.
“That girl’s really good,” exclaimed Andrew, of Lindsey afterwards. “She could go pro now.”

The two played a duet with double mallets that were moving so fast that they always turned up blurry on camera. The incredible thing is that each of them were hitting four different keys with those mallets at the same time.

(at L) Lindsey and Lauren (R) played Koppel's "Toccata" at a fast pace on vibraphone and marimba

“They’re not necessarily different notes,” said Andrew. “It’s just like fingers on a piano keyboard.”

Yet, the precision, speed and acccuracy of the piece was remarkable. The piece was lively, strong and uptempo, and then it suddenly went soft and smooth.

Next up was Alek on bassoon with Edith Orloff accompanying him. Alek played, “Scherzo in G Minor,” by Miroshnikow.

Rarely do you get a chance to see a bassoonist play up close. Usually they’re cloistered in the back of an orchestra, and one just marvels at the slender size of the instrument. Yet, the mouthpiece is rather ornate with a swan’s neck, and the player has to blow and suck on the reed to make the perfect sound. The effect is not glamourous, with a lot of puffing of the cheeks, but fascinating nonetheless.

“That reed of his is shot now,” Andrew said. “Most bassoonists make their own reeds, and throw them out after each performance.”

The final soloist, Anna Sigmund, a German student on violin, was impressive because of the high notes that she hit in her selection, “Conncerto in E Minor, Op. 64,” by Mendelssohn. Anna stood tall and proud in a black dress and ankle bracelet. But all eyes were on her violin when she commanded the high notes in this moody, intense, and rather long piece.

Anna, a German violinist, commanded the high notes in the Mendelssohn piece

“It’s all in the bow,” Andrew said afterwards. “She didn’t back off from the high notes, like many others would have. In time, she’ll own that piece.”

The first chamber group of the evening included two violins, a viola and a cello. They played, “String Quartet in C Major, K 465,” by Mozart.

The lead violin, Michal, a high school student from Poland, had gone on a Sunday trip to Venice Beach a couple of weeks earlier. He took a lot of pictures of the California scenery, and marveled at the six-lanes on Hwy. 10.

“We don’t have this many lanes on highways in Poland,” he said, taking pictures of the cars and trucks. “But everyone is going very slow. Can’t you go any faster?”

Said like a true impatient teenager.

Along with Zoe, Michael and Tiffany, he played the lively, upbeat Mozart piece with enthusiasm.

The next group played the Shubert favorite, “The Trout,” or “Quintet in A Major, Op. 114.” It included a piano, bass, cello, viola and a 14-year-old violin player from Germany. He sat in the first chair during the first concert of the season.

“He started young, but that doesn’t mean anything,” said Christophe Wyneken, a violin and viola teacher from Germany, who brought him to the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program. “He’s got ability.”

(from L) Michal, a violinist from Poland, played the Mozart piece with authority

Michal agreed. “Leo’s good.”

In this quartet, Leo played like a master. The other players, including Alex, Anna, Dana and Noah, kept looking at him to lead the piece. However, Noah, on piano, held his own, and didn’t get drowned out.

“You’re going to enjoy the flute player in this next piece,” said Andrew, who had heard him perform before.

Dressed in jeans, white shirts and tennis shoes, this group, made up of Kevin on flute, Ross on oboe, Louis on clarinet, Carl on Bassoon and Nick on French horn, looked relaxed for this short piece, “Quintet” by Blumer.

Kevin, who played the flute effortlessly, and sounded like a bird in flight, also was animated, moving about to the music in his seat.

The next group included two violin players,  a viola, cello and double bass, that played, “Quintet in G Major, Op. 77” by Dvorak.

(from L) Mimi, a tiny German violinist with a big sound

Tiny and prim, Mimi, the lead violin player, who is also German, had an incredibly loud sound. She didn’t drown out the other players, but I kept looking for a hidden microphone. How did so much sound come out of a tiny girl with a standard violin?

Grecia, who played the double bass, brought in her huge, unwieldly instrument like a pro. Although it was double wide, it sounded like a standard bass. But it was fun to watch because many of us had never seen one before.

Before the final chamber piece, Jonathan, who was teching the show, invited everyone in the audience to come closer to the stage that was set with drum heads, sticks and pillows. Many students sat and laid on the floor in anticipation.

Leo, a 14-year-old violinist from Germany, played with authority

“You’re really going to love this piece,” exclaimed Andrew, who had seen it performed by the Chamberfest Percussion Ensemble the night before.

The modern piece by M. Ford was called, “Head Talk.” As the name suggests, the four drummers only played drum heads, with drumsticks as they sat cross-legged on the ground.

The piece included some antics, including hitting, rolling, tossing and slapping of the drum heads. They were clear and of varying sizes. When Una, a former Idyllwild Arts student, rolled her drum head to Lindsey, who resumed play, it looked spontaneous.

“That was all written into the piece,” said Una and Lauren later.

But their facial expressions and feined impatience with Severin, the only male drummer, was spontaneous, they said.

Severin sat in front with a dramtic blue scarf tied around his neck. During the piece, he’d bang louder than the others, or bounce the drum head off his head, to the mock disgust of the rest of the girls.

In "Head Talk," the drummers rolled, tossed, hit and slapped only drum heads

Yet, it was a perfectly choreographed piece, that ended with each of the players, Una, Lauren, Mika and Severin, all breaking their own heads through their drum heads at the final bow.

“They cost about $20 bucks each, but we replace them all the time,” explained Una, later of the broken drum heads.

For the finale of "Head Talk," the drummers broke them on their own heads

Many of these students will be playing in the High School Chamberfest Concert today at 1 p.m. It will be held in the IAF Theatre in the Bowman Building. This final concert of the summer is free and open to the public.

Hilarious & Irreverent ‘Spelling Bee’

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

One of the opening numbers at the Spelling Bee

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Today at 2 p.m. is the final show of the “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” a hilarious and irreverant comedy, by the Idyllwild Arts Theatre Department. If the last two shows were any indication, you may want to arrive early so that you can get a seat.

The show centers on a middle school spelling bee in the fictional town of Putnam Valley. We get to learn a lot about its six quirky contestants, including Olive, a latchkey kid whose mother ran off to an ashram, played by Ruby; Logan, a German immigrant with a lisp and two dads, played by Erin; Barfee, an egghead who writes with his feet, played by Shane; Chip, an over stimulated Boy Scout played by Preston; Leaf, a simpleton tree hugger, played by Joey, and Marci, an Asian overachiever, played by Miracle.

Panch, the proctor, played by Devon and Rona the host, played by Paulina, add much of the adult humor and keep this musical comedy rolling along. Throughout the show, keep a close ear to Panch, who offers the words in an NPR-sounding whisper, yet provides raunchy examples when asked to use them in a sentence.

For her part, Rona is host, but she’s still living out her glory days as a spelling bee winner. The author, Rachel Sheinkin, likes to tell many of the back-stories in flashback, with lights, smoke, and characters that appear out of nowhere.

Meeche, played by Becca, is the “comfort counselor,” who is at the spelling bee because of her parole. Like many characters in this play, she’s a stereotype. She’s a macho Mexican gang member, who wears a bandana and leather jacket. She’s the one who ushers the students offstage when they lose. Yet, towards the end of the show, she reveals her tender side, wanting to give the students real life advice–instead of just a hug and a juice box.

Poster as seen on the Idyllwild Arts campus

The best part of the show is the audience participation. While standing in line, several attendees were asked if they wanted to be a “volunteer.”  That meant that they would go up onstage and participate in the spelling bee show.

This added a homespun element to all of the shows, including the one on Saturday, May 22. Among those chosen were students and teachers at Idyllwild Arts, including Macarena, a dancer; Martin, a violinist, and Molly Newman, a composition teacher. Ironically, Molly was eliminated early, while Macarena and Martin stayed on for at least four words.

Like the others in the show, Macarena, who is Mexican, was asked to spell only Mexican words, and Martin, who is from Singapore, was given only easy words, “because he just learned English a few minutes ago.”

Although this show is a farce–and you’ll see some surprises at the end–the author may have gone too far with Asian stereotypes. Marci, the Asian overachieving contestant, speaks six languages, twirls a baton and takes karate, yet only gets three hours of sleep each night.

However, Martin, the Asian volunteer, although cute, looked stupid, while Panch’s definitions for his easy words didn’t fit. It appears that Sheinkin borrowed from the racially insensitive humor of “Long Duk Dong,” an Asian foreign exchange student from “Sixteen Candles,” a 1984 teen movie starring Molly Ringwald. I sat next to a father and a young Asian girl, who didn’t understand any of it. Pity the poor Pop who had to explain things later.

Yet, no one minority group seemed to go unscathed in “Spelling Bee.” For example, Logan, the young German girl, who spoke and sang with a lisp, has two fathers, or a gay couple, as parents. They hover like helicopters throughout the show, pushing Logan to her stress limits.

“Don’t talk to me about stamina, Carl,” one of them quips.

In another scene, they take a picture of Logan to send to her “B.M.,” which is not poop, but an abbreviation for her birth mother, who naturally, lives in a trailer park in Kansas.

Although the contestants were the focus of the show, the parents of Olive (played by Melissa and CD), gave a heart-wrenching duet of their breakup.

No children or adults in the audience can ever spell all the words that the contestants were asked, including strabismus, capybara, boanthropy, phylactery, omphaloskepsis, crepuscule, flagellate and tittup, to name a few.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” won some Emmys on Broadway, including “best book.” To help with the show, the assistant choreographer from the Broadway show came up to Idyllwild for a couple of days to help out with the dance numbers. Brooke, who was a contestant and dance captain in the show, said it was great to have her there. You can see her professional mark on everything, including a slow-motion dance piece.

To add to the authenticity, all the songs, dance tunes and sound effects were played each night by musicians at Idyllwild Arts, including Patrick Doran-Sheeran, the conductor who also played drums; Nelms McKelvain, a piano teacher on piano; Georgina on keyboards; Una on percussion; Shen on clarinet and Monica on cello.

“It’s always a great experience to learn different types of music,” said Una. “It’s great for your resume, and at the end of the show, they give us pizza.”

The final show of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is at 2 p.m. today, Sunday, May 23, at the IAF Theater (in the Bowman building) on the Idyllwild Arts campus. All shows are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.idyllwildarts.org.

Copyright 2010 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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Hefty Jazz & Classical Recital

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Kathryn belts out a jazz ballad (at another event) while Hawkins plays bass

By Marcia E. Gawecki

For one fun-filled evening, audience members were treated to a hefty dose of jazz and then classical music. Monday, May 10, was the senior recitals for Kathryn, a jazz vocalist, and Rich, a classical pianist, in Stephens Recital Hall at the Idyllwild Arts Academy.

Kathryn’s roster of 10 songs included jazz standards, classical rock and some blues.

Dressed in a slinky over-the-shoulder short, black dress and a red flower in her hair, Kathryn looked like the ultimate showman. But looks were disceiving.

“She was really nervous before the recital,” said Marshall Hawkins, head of the Jazz Department at Idyllwild Arts. “But I wouldn’t hear none of it. I knew she was going to be fine.”

Kathryn’s first song was “Stepping Out” by Irving Berlin. She sang a duet with Everett, a classical vocals major.  They had fun and chemistry onstage, and the loud applause afterwards gave Schmidt the confidence that kept building until her last song.

For her next tune, “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” by Cole Porter , Kathryn was by herself onstage. Just a guitar and microphone.

“I like doing acustical work,” Kathryn had said earlier in the day. “Sometimes, it’s just nice being out there by yourself.”

When she started “Use Somebody,” a popular rock song by Kings of Leon, Won Bin, shouted out, “I love this song!”

Kathryn played it slower than the popular version, but with just her guitar, and for the first time, we understood all of the lyrics.

By her fourth song, “Maybe,” Kathryn brought on her fellow jazz mates, including Hallie on vocals and piano; Mint on electric guitar; Alejandro on bass guitar and Nate on drums.

“‘Private Lawns,’ by independent artists A & J Stone, is one of my favorites,” Kathryn said as an introduction. And by the time she was done, it was one of ours too. She introduced two musical soloists, Jacob on flute and Caleb on trumpet.

“I just blew in from Chicago, where they have private lawns and public parks,” were the jazzy lyrics.

Grant Park, one of Chicago’s more famous public parks, features a free, four-day jazz concert each Labor Day Weekend. Residents pile in from the neighborhoods and suburbs all dying to hear the jazz greats. Some famous performers include Miles Davis, Benny Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Anthony Broxton, Lionel Hampton,  Betty Carter and Jimmy Dawkins, among others.

For her next song, Kathryn switched to rock n’ roll with the Rolling Stones’ classic, “Wild Horses.” You have to give her credit for taking on such a popular song for the Baby Boomer generation. At first when I heard the lyrics, all I could hear was Mick Jagger’s low voice, and Keith Richards’ electric guitar. But then I settled in and accepted Schmidt’s soprano voice and standard guitar.

For the next few songs, Kathryn went out of sequence from the playbill. For “Oreo Cookie Blues,” she sang a duet with Mint and her electric guitar. It was a fun, little song that made the favorite cream-filled sandwich cookie a bit sexy.

“I’ve got the chocolate cream-filled cookie blues,” Kathryn wailed. “It gets me higher than I get on booze. I couldn’t quit if I wanted to!”

(from L) Jacob on sax and Caleb on trumpet got some solo time at Kathryn's gig

The next tune, “Lift Me Up,” Kathryn said it was a Christine Aguilera song that she sang at a “Hope for Haiti” benefit. She played it with Hallie, and it was a slow, love ballad. “Just get me through the night,” she pleaded to an unseen lover.

For “Orange Colored Sky,” Kathryn brought on the entire jazz band, including Mint on electric guitar; Alejandro on bass; Nate on drums; Jacob on alto sax; Anthony on tenor sax, Hallie on piano and Caleb on trumpet.

With that many jazzmen on stage, one would think that they’d easily drown Schmidt out, but she held her own.

“I talked to them (the musicians) about it,” Hawkins said after the show. “You never want to drown out your singer.”

For her final number, Schmidt sang Aretha Franklin’s anthem, “Respect,” and brought the house down. She added backup vocalists Amenta and Allison, who “wooped” and danced and made everything fun. The interesting part is that Amenta is a theater major and Allison is a visual artist. Who knew that they could sing?

“It wasn’t happening for me at rehearsal,” Anthony confessed later. “But when Amenta and Allison showed up during the show, they really brought a lot of energy that we played into.”

By this time, Kathryn was in her groove. She grabbed the microphone from the stand and started walking around, and “talked” to the drummer Nate with her “doo, doo, doo’s.” She looked like the ultimate jazz showman.

When the Aretha anthem was over, everyone was on their feet, clapping and cheering. And Kathryn walked away with an armload of five bouquets.

For Rich’s review, look to the separate article, “Classical Piano Recital.”

Copyright 2010 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

By Marcia E. Gawecki

How do you prepare teenagers for a play about the ravages of war when no one has ever served in one, let alone met anyone in the military?

“Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter,” Idyllwild Arts Academy’s recent play, will be presented this weekend, January 22-24. It’s about a young woman Marine who returns home from the war in Iraq–disfigured, disillusioned and unable to reconnect with her family. Yet, she finds comfort with the misfits of Slab City, and eventually finds her way home.

The small cast, six in all, are teenagers who play older military characters. Howard Shangraw, head of the theater department at Idyllwild Arts, prepared them in the best way he knew how–he took them to Slab City.

Slab City is a makeshift RV campsite built on a former WWII Marine base in Southern California. The name comes from the concrete slabs where the RVs park. But, like the stark name implies, there is no electricity, running water or comforts of home. Most visitors come to Slab City temporarily during the wintertime, while about 150 veterans live there permanently. Those were the ones that Howard’s students went to meet.

Riley Lynch, who plays a handicapped preacher, said that meeting his character in real life was awe-inspiring. “He told me to keep everything real simple,” Riley said. “But that didn’t mean he wasn’t a complex individual.” After their hour-long meeting, Riley said that he was able to mimmick the preacher’s mannerisms, ticks and labored walk.

Amenta Abioto, who plays the lead, a 30ish African American mother with an amputated leg, wasn’t as lucky. She couldn’t meet her real-life character at Slab City because she was deceased. So Amenta had to rely on You Tube videos and documentaries to develop her character.

Howard showed her and the rest of the cast a PBS documentary about a Marine who had returned home from Iraq with the same challenges as Jenny Sutter. Yet, this Marine ended up committing suicide, Howard said somberly.

Since Amenta’s character’s leg was amputated, Howard tried to set up a meeting with a wounded Marine to hear a firsthand account. It didn’t matter if the soldier was male or female, he said.  Yet, after several phone calls and e-mails to a Marine representative, there was still some resistance.

“He (the representative) had read our promotion piece and was concerned that the play criticized the Marines’ lack of support for their soldiers as they re-entered civilian life,” Howard said. He told him about the excellent veteran programs that cover their needs–physically, financially and emotionally.

“No doubt that the Marines take care of their own,” Howard added. “Our play, however, is not a criticism of any branch of the U.S. military. It’s one individual’s story. If there’s any message here, it’s this: ‘War is Hell.'”

Howard had also invited the playwright, Julie Marie Myatt, to the Idyllwild Arts campus to meet the crew before the show, but ran out of time. “We’ll just have to talk to her over the phone,” he said.

Actually, “Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter,” is not a true account of a wounded Marine. It was created from a compilation of stories that the playwright heard growing up from her father, a Vietnam veteran, Howard said.

“Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter,” begs to be told in our country now, as growing numbers of men and women are returning home from Iraq,” the play promotion adds.

The play opens this weekend with 7:30 p.m. showings on Friday and Saturday, and a 2 p.m. showing on Sunday. All shows are free and held at the Bowman Theater on the school campus located at 52500 Temecula Road (at the end of Tollgate Road) in Idyllwild. For more information, call (951) 659-2171, extension 2200, or visit www.idyllwildarts.org.

Copyright 2010 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.