What a moment, what a time!
Sure, it was a hoot watching Cher belt out the
national anthem at the Super Bowl - a destiny I'm sure she
never imagined for herself in the 60's - but the real fun
and fireworks were right here in little ol' Ashland on a recent
Saturday night as Briscoe Elementary School parent Leslie
Kendall Worked her magic with a sold-out crowd for
the Ashland Schools Foundation benefit concert, "Stepping
Out." To say that Leslie held the crowd
in the palm of her hand is an understatement. "Is this
Carnegie Hall?" she asked at one point, recognizing herself
the magic spell which held us all enchanted for that brief
moment in time on a chill evening in the dead of winter.
Events like "Stepping Out" are of
increasing importance, as our public schools struggle forth
valiantly, even as their already minimalist budgets are threatened
with new cash shortfalls (see cover article, Tidings, Feb.
4, "Ashland school officials worry about state's spending
plan"). PTA Bake dales no longer do it in this day and
age, when schools are losing or cutting back on all sorts
of curriculum and services that we adults grew up taking for
granted. And once you've already amputated art, music, physical
education, or library services from the body literati, and
then you discover you're being handed a proposed budget with
a decrease of $75 million, how do you choose what goes next?
What do you do?
Well, at least for us in Ashland, we have the
Ashland Schools Foundation, which since its inception has
taken the art of fund-raising for the schools to a new high
of professionalism and panache. In the face of daunting and
distressing circumstances, people from all walks of life have
rallied to the ASF's call and helped with their many projects,
which turn out to be fun as well as profitable.
It is time now to celebrate some of these individuals.
"Stepping Out" owes its tremendous success to many
professionals who provided their time, talents, and expertise
free of charge to help raise revenue in support of quality
education in the Ashland public schools. Leslie Kendall's
voice and stage charisma could, indeed, take her to Carnegie
Hall, but she chooses to spend her talent for our benefit.
The electrifying music of Jim Church and the Jefferson State
Orchestra and the infectious dancing of the Jessup Jazz Dancers
and Craig Faulkner and the Southern Oregon Swing Dance Society
kept right up with Leslie, each group a complete act unto
The people behind the curtain work just as hard,
but never get to come on stage for their well-earned applause.
So join me now in thanking these professionals: Lynn Reynolds
(technical coordinator), Denise Lanusse (production coordinator),
Paul James Martin (set design), Voris Sound and Randy Voris
(sound design), Christopher Burkhardt (lighting designer),
Ron Boardman (assistant lighting), Claudia Everett (stylist),
and the Ashland High School technical crew: Russ Otte supervisor
and Terrence Connolly, technical advisor.
In addition, the cooperative efforts of the
staff from Ashland schools, many Ashland businesses, the countless
everyday people helped in this one night's astounding success.
Congratulations to the Ashland Schools Foundation on a job
very well done. And especially, once again, thank you Leslie
Kendall for being the catalyst for "some enchanted
evening." It was indeed, the moment, the time.
Addendum: Saturday night's concert was also
a showcase for the plaques on the seats in the new Mountain
Avenue Theater. In support of its endowment campaign, the
ASF offers individuals and businesses the opportunity to inscribe
a name on a plaque. For information, call Katherine Danner
at the ASF office at 482-2897
Polly Greist lives in Ashland
back to raves &