Star power shines light on Beaverton High students’ needs, dreams
Sophomore Margaret Burden (second from left), junior Gennie Brougham, senior Dawson Boyd Fryer and senior Sam Wagner Forster loosen up a bit with their teacher Jonathan Stoner the morning before singing in Shoshana Bean's fundraiser concert. (Photo by Jake Arnold, OSBA)
The halls and classrooms around the Beaverton High School stage were buzzing last week. For the second year in a row, Broadway singer Shoshana Bean was returning to her alma mater to raise money.
Bean, currently starring in the musical “Waitress,” held a concert April 25 to benefit the school’s performing arts department. The event offers more than desperately needed funds. Students not only perform in the show, they also work alongside sound and light professionals, stage managers and assistants.
The spotlight might be on the Broadway singer, but the experience illuminated for students possibilities in themselves.
The opportunity to work behind the scenes with a professional lighting technician excited junior Riley Vinson.
“It shows that there is more to the performing arts, even after high school,” said Vinson. She’s not sure she wants to work in the arts, but the show gave her a chance to test the waters at a career level.
“They are getting an education they can’t get in the classroom,” said music teacher Jonathan Stoner. He said Bean’s production crew sets a good example for the students, showing there is no time to waste when people are being paid to be there.
Drama teacher Shannon Dery said arts classes offer career-applicable hands-on learning, from using power tools to build sets to cooperatively solving problems.
“Most of the kids aren’t going to pursue theater as a career, but they are going to come away with the confidence and competence,” he said. “For a lot of the kids, the theater department, the arts department is a sanctuary, a place for them to be accepted.”
Sophomore Hannah Edwards said music gives her an outlet for her emotions and the arts program was like having a family in school.
“You know you are not alone,” she said.
Edwards was part of the backing choir for Bean, and she said it would help her test whether she wanted a career in music.
Senior Dawson Boyd Fryer knows he wants to pursue a music career. He entered the Instagram contest to perform with Bean. Even though he didn’t get a spot, he credited the experience with pushing him to publish a song he wrote and performed.
“This is a stepping stone,” he said.
Fryer said the fundraiser was valuable for the attention it brings to the arts, showing fellow students and the community the importance of the programs.
Sophomore Margaret Burden also knows she wants a music career, and she called the opportunity to sing before Bean’s performance “mind-blowing.”
Burden took second Saturday in the Mezzo Voice of the OSAA Solo Music Championships. She credits music with drawing her through some tough times and helping her to cope, and she wishes there was more money available for arts programs.
“It makes me really, really sad that we don’t have the funds to be the best we can be,” she said.
Dery said Bean, a local kid made good, elevates his classes’ impact.