by Karen Anderson, Laingsburg Correspondent
LAINGSBURG – On a sunny afternoon, Saturday, May 8, 2021 the first performance in the recently built McClintock Park Amphitheater was none other than the Laingsburg High School Drama Club. An outstanding performance on a perfect day in the new well-designed structure. Students exclaimed how honored they were to be a part of history of the Amphitheater by performing the musical “Hello Girls.” Directed by Dr. Jennifer Strickland, Language Arts & Drama teacher at Laingsburg High School, who recently won the People’s Choice Award and the Innovation Award at the Online State Theatre Festival for 2020-2021.
The “Hello Girls” was the name of the group of women who served in World War I as tele-phone operators. The females were a unit formed in 1917 to improve the communication, which helped win the war. The applicants were bi-lingual in French, English, and some German. They wore Army regulation uniforms, and some assignment took them to the front line of the fighting. The 223 women were not given an honorable discharge due to Army regulation specified as male gender only. Sixty years after the end of World War I, the U.S. Congress approved their Veterans status and Honorable discharges for the remaining seven living women who served. This play is a recognition of their heroic contribution to winning the war by translating strategies of the enemy and relaying orders to the field.
The inspiring performances of the play, “Hello Girls” with a cast of singers and outstanding actors which included Regan Yates (21), Brianne Jones (21), Kylie Carlson (21), Tabitha McDowell (21), Caitlyn Sanders (21), Tyler Scanlan (21), Nichole Steffens (22), Mason Bartly (23), Libby Zukatis (23), Olivia Weston (24), Evan Hamilton-Eakin (21). Grace Matthews (21), Student Director & Choreographer; Tabitha McDowell (21) and Riley Freeman (22) showed excellent student leadership as the Co-Stage Managers. Set Crew and artists included Emily Arthur (24), Makayla Guenther (22), Kaitlyn Kingsbury (24), Piper Seguin (24), Samantha Walker (24).
The Costume crew included Rachael Lalonde (23), Riley Walker (23). Autumn Brown (23) styled the hair and makeup for the actors. Pops and set building included Livia Gauthier (24), Jaylei Kramer (24), and Dan Miller (21). Light & Sound crew included Liam Doyle (21), Ethan Mohney (23), Claire Sanderlin (22). Each of the students brought in pictures for a War Veterans Memorial board which was on display and dedicated the play to grandparents and family who served in the wars.
A grateful thank you is in order for the teachers, parents and friends who volunteers to run the concessions, ticket booth, sound track, military consultant, set designers and the City of Laingsburg for supporting the performance by allowing the students to use the new amphitheater.
Sponsors included Central Pharmacy, TK’s Kookies, Van Attas Greenhouse, PDP’s Pizzeria. Donations for a Silent Auction include gifts from PDP’s, Laingsburg Recyclers, City Limits, Pampered Chef, ESCAPE Challenge, Photos by Jodi, Mackie Mae’s by Makayla Marrison, Mixology from the Tipsy Gardener, Hart of Glass (stained glass), Potters Park Zoo, Create with Ava on Etsy, An Adventure Flight Aeromark Aviation, Launch Adventures, Wolfpack Pride Fan Basket, Local Handmade Soaps, Mary Kay, A ‘Let Freedom Ring’ wreath. Silent Auction bids brought in much appreciated financial support for this play and many other to follow.
The performance ended with an appreciation to all those who have served in the Military. The matinee was a “hard act to follow” but the evening brought in another big crowd.
Cover Photo: The new Amphitheater at McClintock Park saw its first performance, “Hello Girls”, on Saturday, May 8, 2021. Courtesy Photo