Arts school applicant 'excited'

December 14, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

Editor's note: This is the second in an occasional series that will follow Smithsburg High School student Clare McMahon through the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts application process. Clare was selected by The Herald-Mail staff and has not been given any assurances that she will be selected for admittance to the school. Clare will audition Feb. 7.

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Clare McMahon has known for more than a year that she wanted to be a member of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts' first graduating class.

And last week she took the first step toward that goal.

The Smithsburg High School junior submitted her application for the school's theater program and will soon receive an information packet with a time for her audition in February.

Clare said her goal is to be part of the theater department's musical theater program, but acting and theater production also will be offered.


The school also offers concentrations in dance, visual arts and music.

"I'm really excited because it's just coming closer and closer," said Clare, 16.

The deadline to apply to the high school for the performing arts -- opening next year in downtown Hagerstown -- is today. As of 2:30 p.m. Friday, 172 applications had been received, according to Washington County Public Schools spokesman Richard Wright. He said more applications were expected to be received over the weekend and today.

Clyde Harrell, director of secondary education, said officials expect the school will enroll 150 students in its first year.

"(Principal Michael T. Thorsen) and everyone here is excited about the enthusiasm, and we're looking forward to taking the next steps once we get the applications in here," Harrell said.

Clare is looking forward to that as well, and said the application was more informational, and she expects her enrollment to rest on her performance during an audition in February.

The application asked general questions about interest, and also required a written statement about background and abilities in the arts.

"You're supposed to just put down any singing, dancing, acting credentials that you have," Clare said.

She said she would include information about the high school musicals in which she has performed, along with voice and dance lessons she has taken for years.

Harrell said every student who applies will be scheduled for an audition.

Clare and many other students attended workshops in November to receive help with the audition process.

"It really helps," Clare said. "It gave you an idea of what the actual audition would be like."

Clare said she will be asked to sing a song, do a cold reading and recite a monologue.

She is most excited about performing a monologue for the panel who will decide whether she is selected for the program.

"You embody a different person," Clare said. "You know where they are coming from. It's a different realm. Singing is cool, too. But I like the monologue."

The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Web site -- -- provides a suggested list of monologues for theater auditions, including selections from "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "A Raisin in the Sun."

Clare said graduating from the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts would help her in college. She said she hopes to pursue a career in musical theater.

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