Where in Dane County: The Pirates of Penzance
A Firsthand Account About the Importance of Arts Education
by Claire Miller, age 16
Every year, Verona Area High School’s theater department puts on a fall musical that always draws large crowds. As preparation and planning begin, many eager, young students show up for auditions.
This year’s musical was The Pirates of Penzance by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. This comical opera is about a young man named Frederic with an extreme sense of duty that bound him to a bunch of singing pirates.
As a lover of the performing arts, singing pirates, and as a student of Verona High, I had to be there for this production. And I’m really glad I was. In addition to being really fun, I know I learned a great deal.
The cast and crew of The Pirates of Penzance put on a wonderful show that captivated the audience. Everything, from the beautifully sewn costumes by Nancy Horns to the set and the lighting, looked great. And as usual, everyone in the cast and crew seemed to really enjoy performing.
I want to say to my peers who read this paper that high school production is a great way for students to get involved in the arts. Whether you chose to be a part of the production by singing, dancing, acting on stage, or working with the backstage crew, or even if you just want to watch, a school theater production can be a fun introduction to the performing arts. It is, of course, also hard work. But take it from me, the friends you make and the things you learn make it more than worth the effort.
I also want to say something important to school officials and school administrators around Dane County. The opportunity to learn and work as a team toward a difficult goal is very much a part of a well-rounded education. I feel very strongly, and so do a lot of other kids, that the arts and music and theater are all important ways to learn.
That’s why it’s so important that these programs continue to be offered in our local schools. In many communities, school music performances and theater productions are cherished traditions that go back for years. These performances draw generations together and make students proud. Music, theater, and the arts bring communities together.
For students, the arts are a very good way to learn many important skills. And that’s what education is all about.