Introducing Kids to the Arts

By: Damon Dillman
By: Damon Dillman

They filed in, bus by bus, to see a special performance of "Peter and the Wolf."

More than 800 students, from 11 Staunton and Augusta County elementary schools, gathered at Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton to see the show.

"I think it was a good one, a good play," said Josh Matheney, a first grade student at Craigsville Elementary.

"I liked it. I liked it a lot," said kindergartener Josh Ingram.

"My favorite part was when the wolf spit out the duck," added second grader Kaylen Martlock.

"They were in awe. It's just amazing. Even when the curtains opened, they were just in awe," said Craigsville Elementary teacher Freda Johnson. "The magic of it. And just to see the dancers dance and the costumes, it's a beautiful experience for the children."

The show was performed by the Shenandoah Civic Dance Company. The cast included about 40 kids from throughout the Valley.

But the performance was more than just entertainment. It was a way to expose the students to the arts.

"Now so much is video and all, and there's nothing like live theatre," said the dance company's Pamela McCray. "Some of these children have never been to this auditorium, and there's a lot that goes on here, and maybe they'll want to come back."

And at least one audience member says she'd like to give ballet a shot.

"Because I think it would be fun," said Martlock.

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