Christiansburg students make time for “Ragtime”
CHRISTIANSBURG — When the Christiansburg High School Music Department performs their spring musical “Ragtime School Edition” this weekend, the students’ singing, acting and dancing skills will be on display on stage.
Their more impressive skill, however, may have taken place off stage, as they juggled multiple activities during the nearly four months of preparing the turn-of-the-century musical.
Among the more than 70 performers and stage hands, a flurry of spring sport athletes can be found, along with class officers, prom committee members and others attempting to hold down part-time jobs.
Many students said Monday they plan to spend the final week of preparation, deemed “heck week” by the more conservative students, at the school each day at 7:30 a.m. and not leaving until after 10 p.m.
They are all also entering the final month of their school year, with many facing Advanced Placement exams and Standards of Learning tests in the coming weeks.
Why would any student put themselves through such rigor?
“It’s really fun and because all my friends are here,” said senior track athlete Tiffany Blassingame.
Sophomore Haley Tarpenny said she has made a habit of getting up at 5 a.m. to get her swim practice in at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center, but said she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I like to sing, I like dance, but I like swimming more than both of those,” she said of her decision to modify her schedule.
Such comments illustrate the work ethic David Miller, the school’s band director, said makes this group so special.
Miller added it was especially impressive considering the high physical and emotional demands, along with the high level of maturity this show has required of the students.
Choral director Mandi Townley echoed Miller’s thoughts about the students’ maturity and said that because of the historical accuracy of the show, many students lived out a part of history that is difficult to talk about.
Though subject matter, such as racism, immigration and police brutality may be unpleasant, it is what the directors believe gives the show value.
Townley said all the students had done a great job tackling the challenges of the show and added that for several students, this was their first time performing on stage.
2011 Timesland female Track Athlete of the Year, Rochelle Evans, is one of the many performers who will take the stage this weekend, and said she wasn’t really worried about the sleep she has lost by filling her spring schedule.
“It’s my senior year. I want to do everything,” Evans said.
Want to go?
What: Christiansburg High School Music Department performs their spring musical “Ragtime School Edition.” Parental guidance is suggested for those 12 and younger due to strong historic themes.
When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday; 7 p.m. May 12
Where: Christiansburg High School auditorium
Cost: Adults, $7; students, $5
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643