MVHS alumni turn out to support the arts

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RUMFORD — While they were students at Mountain Valley High School, they performed in plays, sang and played instruments on the stage in Muskie Auditorium. Taking part in the arts was a critical part of their education and growth into adulthood.

When they heard about the water damage to the auditorium, it was only natural that they wanted to help. So these students have organized a spaghetti dinner, show and Chinese auction with the proceeds benefiting the auditorium’s restoration.

The evening’s festivities will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 27, at the American Legion on Congress Street. The show will start at 7 and go to 11:30. The cost of the dinner and show is $12. The dinner only is $8 and the show only is $5.

The show will include musical renditions from Alexa Fryover, Ashleigh Milligan, Bernard Sanabria and Alysha Laurinaitis,as well as Mark Garrido and his band. Each of the alums was well known for their musical talent while they were at MVHS.

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Ashleigh Milligan explained her reasons for organizing the event.

She said, “We are doing this so the music program, and other arts classes won’t get cut. We think it is equally important for all kids to have the option and outlet to express their feelings through an art. We figured if we could raise money for the auditorium that it would help with budget cuts because the insurance didn’t cover all of the damages.”

Milligan refers to the elimination of art teachers and music teachers, as well as 40 other positions, in the 2014-15 RSU 10 budget. To share limited resources, existing teachers are required to teach at multiple buildings.

Bernard Sanabria echoes Milligan’s concerns.

He added, “I am doing this benefit because I don’t want the schools in Maine to lose their most treasured programs. I was just recently in Massachusetts and have been told that those programs are gone.”

Sanabria continued, “These are classes students can go to get away from all the nonsense and drama of actual high school and be able to express themselves without being harassed. That’s why I don’t want those classes to go.”

Alysha Laurinaitis sees music as a method of self-expression that is critical to students.

She explained, “Music is how I’ve always expressed myself and Mr. Prescott’s classes gave me a great opportunity to do so. I’d hate to see Mountain Valley lose such a beautiful program! Kids need opportunities like that in their lives. That’s why I chose to help with this benefit.”

Alexa Fryover views her participation as a way to honor teachers who supported her.

She said, “I wanted to be part of this because being on that stage was where I felt the most confident in high school. It’s where I realized just how strong my passion for music and theater was and it was like my second home. It devastated me to hear about the damage and I’m so grateful for an opportunity to give back. This is also my way of saying thank you to the teachers that encouraged me to follow my dreams and helped me get where I am.”

In the spring, Milligan will complete her associate’s degree in vocal performance at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minn. Then, she plans to study music therapy at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Sanabria served in the U.S. Army National Guard after graduating from MVHS in 2010. He currently works at Covered Wagon.

Laurinaitis works at the Circle K in Mexico.

Fryover is a theater arts major at Castleton State College in Vermont.

The evening holds promise of a good meal and great entertainment as well as an opportunity to relax after the holidays. Join these talented vocalists and musicians and support a great cause.

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