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Grasmick: Arts school Md.'s 'most unique'

October 20, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- Afternoon traffic was diverted on Tuesday so students could play music, sing and perform on a downtown street.

It was the latest in a series of celebrations and fundraising events for the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, which opened in August.

This one included Nancy S. Grasmick, the state superintendent of schools, who told students, "Remember, you have a charge. You are the pioneers and what you do to create the path will make a difference to all who follow you."

Grasmick called the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts "truly the most unique" out of more than 1,600 schools in Maryland.

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It offers instruction in music, art, dance and theater in a building donated by Hagerstown businessman Vincent Groh.

Dozens of students at the new school -- which is named after Groh's late wife -- showed off their talents in the middle of South Potomac Street, which was closed to vehicles for the afternoon.

A mixed choral ensemble sang.

A wind and percussion group played the finale of Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 5.

A mixed musical theater ensemble performed "Another Op'nin', Another Show" from "Kiss Me, Kate."

Standing behind velvet ropes, a few hundred students, elected officials, community figures and other people crowded the pavement and the sidewalks to watch and applaud.

Washington County Board of Education President Wayne D. Ridenour said it was "a leap of faith" for students to leave their regular high schools and attend the new arts school.

"You've invested in your futures," Washington County Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said.

She said President John F. Kennedy described success as having many options.

The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Foundation has raised about $800,000 for programs at the school, said Cynthia Perini, the foundation's president. She said the foundation hopes to raise $5 million.

Grasmick gave the school a proclamation from the governor.

Perini then gave Grasmick a picture of the school and urged her to hang it at the education department's headquarters.

"I shall, and thousands of people shall know about the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts," Grasmick said.

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