Music in Our Schools Week kicks off with ‘Hello Dolly’ performance

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Clovis High School students practice “Put Your Sunday Clothes On”, a musical number in “Hello Dolly,” Tuesday at Marshall Auditorium.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Clovis schools will be kicking off the 32nd annual Music in Our Schools Week with the high school’s performance of the musical “Hello Dolly.”

The week — Feb. 21 through Feb. 27 — showcases the benefits of music in education and the music department district-wide.

Alan Dropps, the district’s music director, said it is a way to remind and thank the community for their support of music in education in Clovis.

“Hello Dolly” will star CHS senior Savannah Tipton in the title role as Dolly Gallagher Levi and senior Ean Guthals in the male lead as Horace Vandergelder.

“Hello Dolly” is the story of Dolly Levi’s efforts to marry Horace Vandergelder, the well-known half-a-millionaire. It becomes clear through out the play that she intends to keep Vandergelder and his money to herself.

CHS chorale director Marsha Brandon said the school performs a musical every three years.

“We felt Hello Dolly was the best choice for the students and the community,” Brandon said. “All ages will enjoy this.”

Choir, band and theater students auditioned for the play in October and began practice in January.

“It’s neat to be able to pull those groups of students together,” Brandon said.

Guthals said playing Vandergelder is interesting because of how different the character is from himself.

“He’s middle-aged, angry and lonely. I’m happy and love being around people,” Guthals said.

Tipton said Dolly is the most complex character she’s seen performed or played.

“Most female characters in plays are one dimensional. They’re supposes to be there and look pretty and sing pretty. (Dolly) has to be smart, lonely and funny,” Tipton said.

Tipton said she had never read or seen the play before auditioning to perform in it but has fallen in love with it.

“I love the personality that Dolly has,” Tipton said. “The play is set at the end of the Victorian age and women usually didn’t play a huge role in their own lives. She takes charge of her life, of everything.”

Tipton said she’s worked behind the scenes on several musicals and perfomed in plays but has never performed in a musical.

“I like to act but music brings an added element, another dimension, that acting can’t do alone,” Tipton said.

The end of Music in Our Schools week will bring the Grand Concert, a showcase of the district’s music department.

The concert will feature performances by the elementary ambassador choir, Freshman Academy chorale, Clovis High School chorale, Yucca Middle School band, CHS jazz band and CHS symphony band.

Dropps said music in education provides students will a variety of benefits.

“Research shows that students who receive music as part of education do better on standardized testing, tend to have less discipline problems in school and tend to have a sense of belonging to something,” Dropps said. “Despite all that, music for music sake is important. Music is inherent in who we all are. Music is part of every culture in the world. Music is part of who we are as a people.”