Seussical the Musical Comes Alive At Campbell High School

by Doug Robinson

Cat in the Hat, played by Caitlyn Shafer, accompanies the band during one of their songs.

“Hello…Who are you? “asks Horton the Elephant as he looks upon a tiny speck of dust sitting atop a piece of clover.  “We’re Who sir” comes the reply from within the clover.  And so begins the magical and mystical play, Seussical, performed by students of Campbell High School.

Under the stage direction of CHS teacher, Jill Deleault, and musical rehearsal conductor, Phil Martin; the drama club students of CHS entertained, energized, and raised the audience to a standing ovation as they performed their sold out performances of the musical play, Seussical the Musical.

Seussical the Musical, first performed in 2000, is “based on the beloved characters and stories of (well known children’s author) Dr. Seuss.  Seussical the Musical follows the adventures of Horton (played by Sean Curran), an elephant who one day hears voices coming from a speck of dust.  He soon discovers that within this tiny speck exits the smallest planet in the universe.  And upon this tiny planet, live a tiny race of creatures known as Who’s.  “Although ridiculed by the other animals in the Jungle of Nool for believing in something he cannot see, Horton stubbornly persists in his belief that the Who’s exist” states

Unknown to Horton, the Who’s are in a battle for their lives as they go to war to protect those who wish to have their bread buttered, “butter side up.”

As the play unfolds, Cat in the Hat (played by Caitlyn Shafer) narrates the tale to assist those who are in the audience with the unfolding story.  JoJo, (played by Kayla Follett) is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Mayor (played Andrew Matte and Meagan Spencer), is the mischievous and devious young Who, having been kicked out of school for being a problem child, is the voice whom Horton hears on the tiny clover.  JoJo is also the smallest person who lives in Who.  “Some tiny person is calling for help…a small speck of dust…unable to steer…I will have to save him” speaks Horton.  “A person is a person no matter how small.”

Throughout the play, the values of honesty, loyalty and friendship become centralized and are characterized by the various characters of the cast in the musical Seussical.  Horton’s values of loyalty become evident when he volunteers to protect the bird’s egg for Mayzie LaBird (played by Carol Wade) uttering I am loyal, “100% do or die.”  He further states, “the value of a person is a person, no matter how small” and this value is repeated and sung throughout the performance.  Challenges by Sour Kangaroo (Felecia Royal), the Grinch (Martha Champagne), Yertle the Turtle (Alyssa Bean), Vlad Vladikoff (Zac Danis), the Wickersham Sisters (Cassie Clark, Katherine Childs, Madeline Vinskus), the Bird Girls (Dayna MacQueen, Valerie Plunkett, Rachel Torgersen, Hannah Wester), and the Fancy Fish (Nicole Rochon) never took Horton off his course of helping the Who’s (Sarah Belisle, Zac Danis, Logan Higgins, Ashleigh Magliano, Sam Napoli, Shannon Savard, Jen Swider, Kellie Wallman.). 

While the musical play Seussical had only a short run on Broadway, from 2000 to 2004, it has had a magical run with local high school and local theater groups.  The play encompasses and involves the stories and characters from 18 different children’s books written by Dr. Seuss.  As a result, Seussical the Musical has become the number one theatrical play for high schools and local theater groups perform. 

True to sung words by Gertrude McFuzz’s (played by Abby Connor), the actors of Campbell High School, won the “Battle of Better”, “Galloped through the snow”, “Dreamed in Color”, spoke of “telling yourself how lucky you are for things could be worse…to thank your lucky stars you got this far”, and that life is not hopeless.  Everybody involved, including the actors, band, lighting designer and crew, backstage crew, costumes, advertisers, and set construction personnel of Campbell High School, produced a first class play with enthusiasm which electrified the audiences and brought them to their feet during the performances of Seussical the Musical.

“I am so proud of my kids” commented school Superintendent Elaine Cutler.  “We are a small school and it is just wonderful to see such enthusiasm and excitement that these kids put into the play.”

Horton the Elephant (Sean Curran) sings to the people of Who that “People are people, no matter how small.”

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Student’s Logo Chosen to Represent Newport Library Arts Center

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Fine and Performing Arts Debbie Campbell, Executive Director Kate Niboli of the Library Arts Center, and Meagan Teneriello, 2009

From a field of strong contenders, Colby-Sawyer College senior Meagan Teneriello of Hudson emerged as the winning graphic designer in a friendly competition among classmates to create a logo for the Library Arts Center in Newport.

Teneriello’s creation was chosen by the center’s Executive Director Kate Niboli and board members from among designs submitted by Colby-Sawyer students in Adjunct Assistant Professor Debbie Campbell’s Visual Identity and Systems Design (ART 422) class.  Niboli came to Campbell’s class on October 30 to offer detailed feedback on each submission and to reveal the winning design.

The Library Arts Center is a regional cultural and arts center where residents and visitors can observe, study and participate in the arts.  The center came to the college’s Art Department with a challenge: to help it create a compelling new logo that reflected the broad mission for its library, gallery and studio, and its multiple constituencies in the community.  According to Professor Campbell, the center’s slightly unwieldy name also posed a design challenge for the students.

Resided in a renovated Victorian carriage house in Newport, the center has a spacious main gallery with a small stage, a backstage gallery, and an art studio on the floor below.  Offering classes in drawing, painting and sculpture, and boasting a darkroom, the center is a separate organization from the library with its own Board of Trustees and director.

Niboli’s challenge to Professor Campbell’s class was to create a hip, fresh logo that would appeal to artists – all kinds of artists – as well as non-artists of all ages.

“This was a very challenging project, and I was really surprised by the work that came out of it,” says Niboli.  “There were quality graphics that appeared in the office that we could consider.  It was challenging for me, as well, because my aesthetic is one thing, but in my role I have to think of the aesthetics of the entire organization.”

Niboli talked forthrightly about the merits of each entry, and the potential challenges it posed for the organization.  The students heard about the discussions and concerns that went into choosing a logo, as well as Niboli’s personal preferences.  A logo’s potential for easy recognition and uniqueness were factors, as was striking the right balance between hip and elegant.

Professor Campbell was delighted by Niboli’s careful assessment of each creation.  “She did such a nice job of filling the students in on the pros and cons of the designs,” says Campbell.  “That kind of feedback from a client is invaluable.”

In addition to having her work chosen, Teneriello was awarded $100 from Beyond Design, Campbell’s graphic design firm.  As a transfer student from Emmanuel College in Boston, MA, Teneriello says it was definitely a smart choice to come to Colby-Sawyer.  “I love it here, I’m getting so much out of the courses,” she says.  “I had a lot of other ideas for this assignment, so it took a long time to get to the version that ended up being chosen, and I was pretty happy with it at the end, even before I knew it won.”

The logo will be used on stationary, brochures and advertisements in an effort to create more visibility and recognition for the center, according to Niboli.

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Selectmen Respond to Article about Treasurer

by Lynne Ober

Last week’s Hudson~Litchfield News (HLN) ran an article highlighting the recent resignation of Litchfield’s Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer.  This article was run after the HLN was contacted by former Treasurer Joe Stapleton who asked to be interviewed, but work on the resignation story had already been in progress.

This week, Board of Selectmen Chairman Frank Byron opened the meeting by reading a written statement about the article.  He said it was the desire of the board to respond and said that the $3.5 million dollar disconnect reported by the resigned treasurers “does not present all the facts.”  Byron stated that he wanted residents to have all the facts about the situation.

The HLN article discussed a meeting between the two treasurers, the selectmen’s assistant and Frank Bryon.  According to former Treasurer Joe Stapleton, this occurred in July.

Byron talked about a similar meeting.  He said that although he attended, the treasurer would not speak to him (Byron) “for some reasons.”  He also characterized the treasurer as not fully participating in the meeting.  During his statement, Byron hypothesized that the treasurer was not speaking to him because the treasurer had recently met with selectmen to ask for a laptop and had been turned down.  According to selectmen’s approved minutes, posted for the public to read and review on the town Website, the treasurer met with selectmen on August 25 to request the laptop.

Byron said that significant errors had been discovered, but noted that the errors could be easily fixed.  At the time, two different reports with two different starting dates were being used.  One report began January 1 and the other began on March 1, which Byron noted accounted for a large part of the discrepancy.  According to Byron, he pointed this out and the reports were re-run at an unspecified date.  Byron said that at the current time the town financial system and the treasurer were approximately $200,000 apart.  Byron also strongly disagreed with the deputy treasurer’s characterization that selectmen had no interest in the financial situation until they thought they might be running out of money.

Although Byron read that the author of the article had not contacted selectmen to verify facts, subsequent discussion brought out a different picture.  First Selectman George Lambert noted that the author had called the selectmen’s assistant to verify facts.  When the author spoke up during public input and said that Selectman Al Raccio had been contacted about the $3.5 million dollar discrepancy, Raccio confirmed that this call had taken place.  Lambert then also said that he had been called by the author about the treasurer’s resignation.  It was noted that Chairman Byron was out of the country at the time and could not be reached.

Raccio confirmed that he had been asked to verify the $3.5 million discrepancy.  Raccio confirmed that he reported he had not been told by Byron about the meeting with the selectmen’s assistant and the treasurers.  Raccio said he did not know about the discrepancy.  When asked a similar question, Raccio pointed out that the minutes posted on the town Website would confirm that Byron had not briefed the board.  Raccio was correct.  The approved minutes did not contain any information about Byron briefing the board on the discrepancy, a possible solution, or next steps.  There was no report about meetings between Byron, the treasurers and the selectmen’s assistant.

Byron stated that the treasurers had never given him a reason for their departure, and he only found out that they were worried about indictment and ruined reputations when he read the HLN.  He also read a section about his dissatisfaction with the way the resignations were handled.  According to Byron, the treasurers knew he was out of town and he said the treasurers should have approved town payroll on the Tuesday prior to their resignations, but did not come to town hall to sign checks.  He further stated that when the resignations were given on the next day, Wednesday, that the treasurers refused to sign the payroll checks, which placed the town at risk of legal action.  Byron noted that the treasurers gave no notice.  The resignations were effective immediately, which negatively impacted the town.

Byron confirmed that the treasurers wanted to speak uninterrupted to selectmen.  He read a section of an e-mail that he sent reminding them that they had to “remain within bounds” with their public comments and said that he wrote, “I will ensure you will not be interrupted” if they remained within bounds.  Byron said he had no response to the e-mail, and that there were no issues with the treasurers’ performance prior to their resignations, and he also indicated that the resignations were a surprise to all involved.  Byron said that letters had been written to the treasurers to return all property and cited keys to files as being missing.  He also said that the current treasurer had attempted to contact the former treasurer, but had not been called back.

At the end, Byron complained that the article had not appeared as soon as the author of the article made the calls confirming details, and was told that some stories take a while to develop.  As Byron knows, the HLN has been investigating the apparently missing FEMA grant money for the Brickyard reconstruction project for nearly a month.  He knows this because he received the first written request for information on October 20.  In that e-mail, Byron was asked to respond to the following three questions:

  1. Did you apply for a FEMA grant to pay for the 75 percent eligible costs?
  2. I know that FEMA pays after-the-fact, but where is that grant?  
  3. Why hasn’t money come back to Litchfield so that at least some of the money spent on the flood damage could have been reallocated to the other road projects?”

He replied that he asked the road agent to respond. 

On November 7, Byron received a further e-mail noting that the road agent had not responded and was again asked to respond.  He was also asked to provide a copy of the FEMA grant application.  At that time he responded by e-mailing the road agent with a CC to Lynne Ober.  “Can you please address Lynne’s questions below?  The filing of a FEMA grant would have happened before I was on the BOS, and I would like to have someone answer who was involved in that decision, etc.  Either that, or please pull the past minutes of the BOS where this was addressed.”

During this elapsed time, a number of other people have also been contacted for information, and no, the story isn’t ready to run yet.  Checking facts, reading old selectmen’s minutes, verifying comments and memories takes a while.  So time can, and does, pass between when verification of a story begins and when the story runs — whether it is a story about a resignation or a story about a large grant that would offset taxpayer dollars.

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Campbell High School Class Dues

The Student Council, Class Advisors and School Administration of Campbell High School (CHS) have decided that it would be beneficial to begin the practice of collecting class dues.

Why:  All class activities are self-funded, which means that each class at CHS must raise its own money to provide our students with traditional high school experiences like homecoming, prom, and graduation events.  The cost of these events has increased over the years.  Additionally, many of these events require substantial deposits in advance.  This has put the focus for class advisors and class officers on fundraising rather than planning events.  Furthermore, current fundraising efforts are ineffective for several reasons:

  1. Many student groups are already engaged in fundraising activities, which has increased competition for a limited amount of resources.
  2. Parents and community groups are repeatedly asked to buy items that they do not need or use.
  3. A substantial number of students choose not to participate in fundraising activities, which increases the burden on a few to support the activities of an entire class.

How:  Each class will collect a nominal fee from its members.  This year’s dues have been determined to be the following:  freshmen $20, sophomores $25, juniors $25, and seniors $25.  The money will be turned over to students’ advisors and deposited in class accounts.  If a student does not pay, he or she will not be allowed to participate in class activities such as sophomore semi-formal, junior-senior prom, and graduation week, with the exception of graduation.  Students who are unable to partake in these dues will be provided with the opportunity to raise the funds necessary.

Purpose:  The money will be used to pay for and/or offset the costs of traditional high school activities.

Benefits:  Most other area high schools charge their students dues.  They report that this will benefit the entire school community by:

  1. Having funds available for planning class activities.
  2. Making fundraising equitable.  Every student will contribute a small part in offsetting rising costs.
  3. Reducing the need to depend totally on local businesses and fundraising efforts to sponsor these costly high school traditions. 
  4. Putting the focus back on “fun” rather than “fundraising.”
  5. Increasing participation in class activities by giving students ownership in the activity.

Class advisors are scheduling class meetings to discuss the benefits of these dues in the upcoming weeks.  We look forward to your support! 

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Santa Is on His Way!

Santa Claus will be arriving for his annual visit on Friday, November 28.  Since his trusty reindeer will be resting after the long trip from the North Pole, the Hudson Fire Department will give him a ride to the Hudson Town Common at 4 p.m.  Santa will then supervise the lighting of the trees, which will shine throughout the holiday season. 

Following the tree lighting, all good little boys and girls, along with their parents, are invited to follow Santa over to the Hudson Community Center for crafts and refreshments.

This year Santa will be assisted by the Nottingham West Lions Club of Hudson, along with the help of Boy Scout Troop 21, Alvirne Culinary Arts Department, Alvirne Little Broncos Day Care Center, Alvirne Music Department, and the Senior Citizens.

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