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Letter to the Editor

February 15, 2009

Playmakers, school are a perfect fit



To the editor:

How will the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts pay dividends in our community? Well, as a lifelong lover of the arts, let me hasten to tell you that if I were of highschool age I, too, would have been at those tryouts last Saturday and I would have found solace and comfort being surrounded by like-minded kids my own age appreciating the fact that we would soon be in the company of peers and teachers who would be able to help us reach our goals and fulfill our deepest passions.

To know my instructors were going to be the best of the best and that I would be graduating with skills in an art that would prepare me to provide beauty and inspiration to people for a lifetime, would have meant a great, great deal to me.

I once had an artisan tell me, "if you can do for a living that which you would do for free, you will never really work a day in your life." I celebrate the person who wishes to perfect what is already their passion, for it is we, the community, who will reap the benefits of their perfection.

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Case in point:

I have had the privilege of performing in the first play produced by Potomac Playmakers in the new Academy Theatre in downtown Hagerstown during the past two weekends. This was a dream come true for all of us.

While we had many wonderful memories of 80-plus years at our previous location, The Women's Club, we are thrilled to be given this opportunity to be the resident theater group at such a tastefully designed location. Word of mouth advertising kept the crowds increasing with every subsequent performance.

They were thrilled with the stadium seating, made glowing comments on their catered meal experience upstairs and in many cases even returned the following weekend to see the show again. We even saw more young people checking us out in the audience.

It occurred to me as I was standing in the post-show receiving line that even in the midst of an economically shaky climate, it is possible to create an afternoon of escape. To hear boisterous laughter, to listen as patrons playfully tried to guess "who did it?" as they munched on brownies at intermission and to have the members of our community hug us and shake our hands as they revealed to us their favorite part of the show, was very touching.

Throughout the crowd, patrons, actors, crew - everyone - was happy and goodwill and unity was the order of the day. This is the theater experience. This is what makes actors act and patrons return.

Our director, Ruth Ridenour, will be the drama teacher at the school for the arts, and I see the beginning of a brilliant relationship between the Playmakers and these gifted students. Our community will see the first fruits almost immediately.

Barbara Ingram, know that we applaud your vision; Mike Guessford, thank you for choosing us and Ruth, thank you for choosing me.

Folks, the best is yet to come!

Peggy Hardinge
Hagerstown

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