The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 18, 2012

'Diary of Anne Frank' to be performed by Geneva thespians


Star Beacon

GENEVA — There are already so many exciting things happening here at Geneva High School. For example, there are two teachers beginning their first year here. The first is new band director, Gianna Colella. Ms. Colella graduated from Youngstown State University with a degree in music education. She teaches general music, concert band, marching band and jazz band.

Colella, originally from Sharpesville, Pa., says that she truly likes our area and having the lake so near. This is her first job as a band instructor, and she is pleased that the students have been so cooperative.

When asked what she hopes to do for her students this year, Ms. Colella responded: “So much. I'd like to increase the numbers and make it fun for the kids.”

Colella says that she is happy to be here and that she is impressed with the motivation and drive of her students.

Another new teacher to Geneva High School is Amy Durkovic. Ms. Durkovic graduated from Mount Vernon Nazarene University with a major in Spanish education and a minor in music. Prior to teaching at Geneva, she taught Spanish at Jefferson Area High School for 14 years. She is teaching Spanish I and II throughout the school day. Ms. Durkovic may live in Jefferson, but she says that she likes teaching at Geneva.

“The students are so united, and there's so much school pride. Also the staff is very friendly and welcoming,” she said.

The Geneva High School Vocal Music Department is sponsoring a concert, “Save the Music,” on Oct. 26 in the high school auditorium. The band Covert Operations will be performing and Geneva’s Image show choir will take the stage as well. The five member band has recently released its debut album “Debut De la Fin.” The front man for this group is Rob Covert, a 1992 GHS graduate and former member of the GHS choral program and the GIs. Accompanying Covert on his trip back to his old high school will be fellow band member Josh Theilan, also a GHS alumnus, who sings and plays the guitar for the group. Tickets for this event are $10 and may be purchased in advance by contacting choral director Michelle Mather at 440-466-4831 extension 4614, and will also be available at the door.

Choral students will enjoy the benefit of working one on one with Covert, during the school day on the day of the concert, as he shares his expertise in breaking into the music industry. Ms. Mather said, “The proceeds from this concert will be used to defray costs of the choral department’s spring trip to the Florida competition, and to purchase the little extra things that will help to keep our students performing at the highest possible musical level.”

Performance is also on the minds of members of the GHS Drama Department. GHS thespians will perform “The Diary of Anne Frank” on Nov. 8, 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. and on Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. in the high school auditorium. This play is based on a true story and highlights the challenges of a Jewish family in the midst of the Nazi regime during World War II. Robin Christopher is in charge of the production and says that this story needs to be told. Her chief goal is to educate through this classic play, the struggles of the time. This play was chosen in order to give a more serious side to Geneva’s thespian program before the upcoming musical which will be very happy and upbeat.

The cast list consists of Brooke Jewell as Anne Frank, Michael Cayen as Otto Frank, Nicole Brunsman as Edith Frank, Mary Wessell as Margot Frank, Hannah Spaulding as Miep Gies, David Sanborn as Peter Van Daan, Tyree Santiago as Mr. Kraler, Emily Orris as Mrs. Van Daan, Donovan Sharpe as Mr. Van Daan, Ian Pack as Mr. Dussel, Jacob Avsec as Karl Silberbauer, and Chris Carabotta, Paul Alley, Chase Woerner and Darren Haydu as the Dutch Nazis.

There is a very large technical crew headed by stage manager, Brandy Catanese; running crew foreman, Robert Scheaffer; head costumer, Ariel Stehura; make-up coordinator, Hannah Franco; lighting captain, Daltan Coffey; and prop supervisor, Donovan Sharpe. Overall there are 15 members of the cast and 40 members of the crew.

One of the major challenges to this production has been the design and construction of the black box, which is a revolving stage which is new to Geneva this year. This has posed some difficulty with lights, sound and wing space. It should, however, be a very nice addition to the play. Other challenges include the learning process involved in making the play as serious as it should be, and doing justice to the content and to the heroine, Anne Frank as well.

Part of the proceeds from this play will go to Amnesty International, which serves to help refugees find safe havens.

“This is not about putting on a play,” said Mrs. Christopher. “It is about learning and challenging our minds to become better people.”

She emphasizes the importance of love, faith and family. The hope is to get a message out to those that come and see this wonderful play.

Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 dollars for students, and may be purchased at the door.

Lastly, a reminder to all parents and guardians of Geneva High School students that parent teacher conferences will be held 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 12 and Nov. 15.