Monday, June 13, 2005

And Follow Up in The Seattle Times on Kamiak's Big Win

The complaint I have had for years about the over-emphasis of high school sports and the non-recognition of the performing arts was detailed in Sunday's Seattle Times. My daughter works incredibly hard on her music. It takes a lot of commitment and self-discipline to participate in piano competitions, solo voice and choir competitions and to get to the State level. Not only is it hard work but there is underlying talent. My daughter is no different in her devotion than most of the kids in the performing arts at Kamiak. And she represents her school.

But if the football team or the basketball team even makes the play offs--man, oh, man is there newspaper coverage and pictures all over the sports pages. The girl who had the lead in "Pirates of Penzance" won the State Solo Soprano competition in April. I saw the teeniest blurb about it with no picture, of course. But the Kamiak kid who won the State discus competition in track had an entire newspaper page with a half page color photo. And believe me, the soprano is a lot prettier than the thrower. I think it is fine to recognize sports success in this way but music success should be equally honored. This pisses me off big time. (And the Moms of the football players don't have to sew their uniforms!!!)

And you know what?? We had sold out crowds at nearly every performance of "Pirates". I bet there were as many community people who saw the musical as attended any football or basketball game. So, thank goodness, Nicole Brodeur, columnist for the Seattle Times, reflected my sentiments in her Sunday Times article.


And a quote from the front page of the Local section of the Sunday Seattle paper---YES!!:

"This year, 43 Washington schools put on 48 productions involving about 6,000 students. And they did it with budgets that match what most high-school athletic programs spend on Gatorade.

"We need to support high-school kids in all their endeavors," said Bill Berry, the associate artistic director at the 5th, which put on the program with the help of Wells Fargo Bank. "Not just those who can run fast or shoot through a hoop, but those with artistic leanings."

Take the winner for Outstanding Overall Musical Production: Kamiak High School's ambitious "Pirates of Penzance." It was done for under $5,000. Ninety percent of that came from ticket sales, 10 percent from advertising and boosters. None came from the school board.

Kamiak's football team has "something like 10 coaches," said drama teacher Laurie Levine. "I have about the same number of students in my program, but I'm the only coach."

She hired teachers to coach vocals and choreography, and paid them out of ticket sales.
"We're always jealous," Levine said of the athletics budget. "There's no sense of disparity."

How much does the athletics department get at Kamiak?

"Part of me doesn't want to know," Levine said with a small laugh. "Just jealousy."

I tried to find out, but didn't hear back from the school before deadline. [yea, right--they don't want anybody to know]

The recognition from the 5th Avenue can only help, Levine said, since this is a "negotiating year" for her budget."

So, indeed, playing a good football game is no small feat but pulling off a Gilbert and Sullivan Opera so that it sounds like the cast stepped off of a Broadway stage is a monumental achievement!!!!! Go Kamiak!!