For Art's Sake

A short few days after you read this, I'll be seeing you down at Stella Olsen Park for Music on the Green. Our first concert will be our friend Melody Guy formerly of Sherwood. I'll likely be making cotton candy and selling soda, but Bernie and I will have some new help this year. Members of the Voices for the Performing Arts foundation will be serving burgers and hot dogs to help raise money for their newly formed foundation.

In May the Voices for the Performing Arts hosted the third annual Sherwood Chorale Concert with Michael Allen Harrison and Tom Grant. It is my understanding that with the wonderful support of several local businesses, they raised over fifty percent more money than their outstanding concert last year. This money will go directly to helping support performing arts within the Sherwood School District. Two scholarships were awarded to graduating seniors who've shown exemplary musicianship in their time at Sherwood High School. From the choral department Amanda Oliszewski was chosen and from the band department Marc Whitehead was the scholarship recipient. Amanda is the fabulous soprano that many of us have heard sing the national anthem at different sporting events. Amanda is truly one of the rare few who I never get nervous listening to as she soars to the high bridge of 'the rockets red glare'. Mark happens to be the beautiful baritone player I mentioned in last month's column. In addition to the baritone, Mark is a very accomplished jazz pianist, guitarist, and vocalist having sung at both the graduating seniors' Baccalaureate and graduation. My heartfelt congratulations to these fabulous performers as they head into the next chapter of their lives, and my gratitude to the members of the Voices Foundation for their work in enriching and recognizing the performing arts in Sherwood.

In addition to Music on the Green, we are really looking forward to this year's Missoula Children's Theatre production of 'The Pied Piper'. Of all the events the Sherwood Cultural Arts Commission has brought to Sherwood this is one of my favorites. It's becoming a tradition that I hope will carry on long after my own children have grown and graduated-which as most of you know will be quite a long time. Each year I have a parent or cousin or nanny approach me with reminisces of their long ago involvement in a Missoula Children's Theatre show. It has been so much fun for the past three years to watch the children of Sherwood blossom as they learn about theatre and take to the stage and make their own memories. This event could not happen without the very generous support of the Sherwood School District in allowing us to use their Performing Arts Center. Not only do we appreciate their generosity and partnership in the use of a home for this venture, but John and the rest of the janitorial staff for the high school have been just wonderful to work with each and every year. I'm always so excited to share moments about the show itself after the production that I have been neglectful in honoring the Sherwood School District and their staff in helping make this event happen. Auditions for the show will be held at 8 AM on Monday, July 31st, in the Sherwood High School PAC. The auditions are very non-threatening and fun to watch. Any child within the Sherwood School District boundaries entering first through twelve grades is invited to attend. The week long camp is free. The only cost is the price of admission to the actual performances on Saturday.

We are still looking for sponsors for our Movies in the Park Series. In the new climate of dramatic budget restrictions within the city, we too have felt the need to be conserving of our very limited resources. I am greatly concerned that this event will not happen unless we find some sponsors. It's hard for me to see this cut because it's grown to be such a popular community event, but we have never made money on this event and it has cost about 20% of our annual budget which may not even exist any more. In this environment we have to find ways to make our programs self-sustaining-which has always been our goal. I can't help but think that there are businesses in Sherwood that would like to have the opportunity to tell 800 citizens and families about their business at a Friday night movie. Please contact me if you are interested in this opportunity. Movies in the Park are more that just something Sherwood has done in the past four years. Long ago, farmers would come to town on Thursday night to do their shopping and meet up with their friends from town. I listened with amazement as I heard one Sherwood octogenarian tell of her memories of those Thursday nights when the local businesses would show movies in what is now Veteran's Park by screening them on the wall of the mercantile business across the street. She described the fun of seeing friends on those beautiful summer evenings and it felt exactly like what I have experienced at our Movies in the Park nearly sixty years later. I hope somehow we can work together and keep this tradition alive within Sherwood.

So here we go…the part of the calendar year that makes the rain worthwhile! I hope I see all twelve of my readers at Music on the Green and I hope that this summer will find each of you enjoying all the cultural events that Sherwood has to offer-enjoying the music, playing the music, acting on a stage, having fun at the festival, or taking in entertainment. I hope we all realize that the sacrifices made by so many of Sherwood's citizen volunteers to provide these events are not just made For Arts sake, but for our sake.

Editor's Note: Robyn Folsom can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. More information about the Voices for the Performing Arts Foundation can be found at

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