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      Well, about 140 Willy Wonka kids are enriched and empowered.

      Well, about 140 Willy Wonka kids are enriched and empowered. A couple weeks ago we saw a cast of 75 on stage in Blossburg performing for a young school audience. And last night we caught the first Elkland public performance featuring 65 more kids. I'm so glad I live where something like this can happen.

      You've got to have a director like Thomas who'll make that daily drive from Wellsboro for rehearsals and performances. And you've got to have a willing assistant directors like Linda and Janelle and a willing crew to provide light and sound and costumes and dance moves and set pieces. And schools as welcoming as these were in Blossburg and Elkland. And the parents, the adults who get the kids (they're young, they can't drive!) to rehearsals and performances. And the sponsors who provide financial support, who see the value in such activity.

      What do you get? You get a stage full of colorful wigs and striped Oompa-Loompa socks on boys and girls who sing their hearts out for you. You get young soloists who put themselves up there with confidence. You get young people who learn to work together as a group and to stay focused for an hour! You get little kids cooperating with bigger kids. You get audiences leaving with smiles on their faces.

      And later in life when these 140 are functioning adults? A few will become performers or teachers. Many will have learned enough about performing arts to sing with choirs or act with community theatres throughout their lives. We hope that all will attend concerts and plays and support the arts. But those who don't do any of this will have a glorious childhood memory of the winter when they were in a Willy Wonka show!

      by Barbara Biddison

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