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Instructors to take the stage at Sandy High

School welcomes new drama, choir teachers to performing arts program

The Sandy High School Performing Arts Department is getting a new outlook on life.

The program is getting two new teachers to take the place of drama instructors Bruce Scarth and Chris Harris, who retired at the end of the 2014-15 school year.

Alec Chase and Tomi Griffin join band instructor Rob McGlothin to complete the new Sandy High School performing arts team.

“I am so thankful to be able to collaborate with the rest of the performing arts staff at Sandy High,” said Chase. “Rob has been extremely supportive of me, and I am lucky to have him around. I am also looking forward to getting to know Tomi, and I think the three of us will make a wonderful team.”POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Alec Chase, Rob McGlothin and Tomi Griffin goof around in the Sandy High School auditorium, where the three of them will collaborate on the schools musical.

Chase grew up in Portland invested in choral ensembles. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Willamette University in Salem and graduated in July with a master of arts in teaching music education from Oregon State University.

Chase looks forward to making the program his own while still holding on to the successful things that Scarth established.

“The primary thing I would like to see happen would be to have as many students join as possible,” Chase said. “I think one of my main jobs is to identify those good traditions and figure out how to best maintain them before adding my own. Traditions are at the core of any ensemble, and by acknowledging and maintaining them, I think a sense of integrity is preserved.”

Griffin brings a special sense of pride with her as she takes on the drama tradition left by Chris Harris. A 1982 Sandy High School graduate, she credits her success in the world of theater to her time in high school drama.

“I’ve just kind of been keeping an eye on it for a while,” Griffin said of the instructor position at Sandy High. “The second I walked (into the auditorium) I had tears streaming down my face.”

Griffin comes to Sandy High School from Arizona, where she taught middle and high school drama. She has also taught at an International Baccalaureate high school in Belgium.

As a way to involve as many kids as possible, Griffin hopes to have her students perform one of the plays she’s written.

“I want to include everyone,” she said. “Rare shows have places for everyone ... And sometimes if they get turned away they won’t come back.”POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Rob McGlothin, Tomi Griffin and Alec Chase make up Sandy High Schools new performing arts department.

Griffin plans to be her energetic self and hopes that will help as she joins the SHS drama family.

McGlothin, who taught band at Sandy High for the last 12 years, said he learned a lot about musical theater from both Scarth and Harris during their time together.

“It was really a blessing.”

Although he will miss the retirees, McGlothin also is looking forward to working with the new additions to the program.

“From what I have seen of them, so far they are energetic and very professional people,” he noted. “It will be different, of course, as Bruce, Chris and I have developed a unique chemistry that capitalized on our particular strengths, and the new teachers will have different areas of expertise to a certain degree.”

The SHS performing arts department will begin making preparations at the beginning of the year for the school musical.

“There really has to be communication,” said Harris about all three teachers working as a team. “Just for the facility alone to work. But it makes it so much more enjoyable if they get along too. I believe what works the best is when you look out for everyone and not just yourself.”

Both Griffin and Chase also will teach classes at Cedar Ridge Middle School.