MAHS Musical fundraiser takes the stage
MEYERSDALE - For 40 years, aspiring actors at Meyersdale Area School District have enjoyed the opportunity to explore their dramatic and artistic interests through the annual musical productions.
This Red Raider tradition began in 1981 with Oklahoma! and has continued through this year's planned production of Into the Woods.
To mark this auspicious occasion the Meyersdale Drama/ Musical Boosters is holding a special fundraiser - musical shirts featuring the titles of all of the productions at MASD.
“The fundraiser is meant to celebrate the four decades of musical success at Meyersdale, all while trying to fund our future shows,” explained Head Director, Ian Edwards. “The shirts are not just for former cast members! We are encouraging anyone and everyone who wants to support the great program Meyersdale has had for decades.”
Into the Woods will be Edwards seventh show as director. Shows he has directed includeHow to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (2015), The Wizard of Oz (2016), Anything Goes (2017), The Music Man (2018), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2019), and Little Women (Spring 2021). Last year's Little Women was intended to be in the fall of 2020, but it was postponed due to Covid. Edwards’ involvement goes back to his own days as a student at MAHS. He was a member of the casts of: Working (2006), Cinderella (2007), The Wizard of Oz (2008), Godspell (2009), and Beauty and the Beast (2010).
Edwards said the continued success of this tradition can be attributed to three factors - students, community and directors.
“The musical thrives because we have students, year-after-year, who care enough about this program to make it something worth celebrating. Musical theater is such a positive experience for these students because it encompasses so many facets of life, all in an environment where the goal is to work together to achieve something truly special that goes beyond yourself,” he explained. “Traditionally, the musical cast members are students who are involved in nearly everything Meyersdale has to offer. These students juggle academics, dance, sports, church, clubs, jobs, and volunteer activities. Yet, despite all of their commitments, you will find them in the auditorium for late-night rehearsals or for all-day Saturday rehearsals because it means something to them. It is an experience unlike any other.”
Edwards said community support plays a critical role in the success of the program.
“The musical theater program at Meyersdale endures because there are enough supporters in the community to guarantee it continues. The Musical Boosters were created for the sole purpose of continuing the musicals when everyone believed the program would end in 2011. The Boosters today consist of parents of current students, as well as community members with no personal ties beyond wanting to see the program continue.”
Edwards also credits the dedicated corps of directors who began and nurtured musical theater at MAHS.
“The program has always succeeded because it has had directors who are willing to give all of their time to these students. From Sam Rocco and Penny Stahl, to Kathy McClure and Don Stoner, to Lauren Wahl and Corey Buterbaugh, to Katie Strong, to my team and myself, the directors dedicated years towards developing success and growth in these students,” he explained. “With the musicals, ‘tradition’ doesn't necessarily mean doing things the same way they used to; instead, it is about succeeding so that you can take your place as part of that tradition, that legacy.”
Edwards said he hopes the community helps mark this 40th anniversary by supporting the musical shirt fundraiser and attending the November production. He also invites area thespians to consider joining the “cast” of the Meyersdale Musical/Drama Boosters. The Boosters will hold their next meeting at 6 p.m. on September 16th in the Meyersdale Area High School band room.
The deadline to order musical shirts is set for September 10. Checks should be made payable to "Meyersdale Drama/Musical Boosters." Checks can be turned in to Edwards at MAHS or mailed to Britta Mitchell at 515 Sherman St, Meyersdale 15552.
“Musical theater is such a positive experience for these students because it encompasses so many facets of life, all in an environment where the goal is to work together to achieve something truly special that goes beyond yourself,” Edwards added. “We appreciate your continued support of this important program.”