Partners in Production

HelpersWhether it’s athletics, music or any other organized activity, contributions made by parent volunteers are an integral part of any school’s success. Producing a musical for a few thousand people over one long weekend is no exception.

Whether they volunteer to build sets, sell ads, apply make-up or bake goodies for sale, it’s the moms and dads of the dozens of student performers who make it happen — in countless, often unrecognized ways.

Bonnie Gane and Regina Shicatano are two of many who have been corralling enthusiastic parents at Penn Delco for years. Whether it’s a variety show in the grade school or a district-wide musical at the high school level, Bonnie and Regina have in some way contributed to or led the charge.

With older children pursuing the arts professionally (Kevin Gane is currently studying music in Lebanon Valley College) and children performing in The Music Man (Matt Gane and Julia and Nina Shicatano), continuing the tradition is a no-brainer. It is an opportunity, notes Bonnie, to watch them grow.

“Working with the kids and parents is very rewarding for me,” explains Bonnie. “ I love seeing the kids evolve over the 4 years. By getting involved parents can see what their kid is doing and appreciate all the hard work. Believe it or not, the kids do like having them around –even though they might not admit it!”

Both piStock_000004820750XSmallarents believe any level of involvement can reinforce the importance of their child’s efforts, offering life lessons and impacting future careers:

“Attending (shows) or being involved gives upcoming artists positive feedback and the encouragement needed to continue their artistic pursuits,” notes Regina, whose daughter Julia is a senior and an accomplished dancer who aspires to pursue her art post high school.

“And we believe that when parents volunteer regularly, it reinforces the view that school and home are connected and . . . an integral part of the whole family’s life.”

Supporting a show can be as simple as baking cookies for concessions or collecting tickets at the door.

And truly the behind the scenes production is as intense as what happens on stage. There is a great coordination effort that runs from auditions through set strike – all of which requires leadership and staffing. Experienced in working with teachers, directors, and parents, Bonnie and Regina have taken up the charge.

“It takes a lot of hours and days and months to prepare for a show so parent volunteers are necessary” relates Bonnie. “From ordering tickets, posters, and labels to organizing volunteers for lobby decorating, baking, selling ads, arranging meals and cast party, we can always use help —from one hour to fifty. I really appreciate whatever any one can do.”

Inspired by Bonnie and Regina, Ralph Shicatano joined the team. An experienced website designer, Ralph has built a mobile-friendly site that is a go-to for rehearsal information, marketing materials, and a place to thank sponsors. With the launch of its first dedicated website Sun Valley Theatre communications has reached a whole new level.

Ralph is excited to share his talents with the theater group:

“I thought it would be a good idea to contribute some of my time in a way that was meaningful to my children. I think it’s an important life lesson for them to see Regina and I engaged in the community as volunteers.”

Combined with some promotional marketing expertise from another parent, Lisa Palmarini (freshman Gianni), the team has developed a modern-day communication and promotional machine to generate excitement and create a real community online and in social media channels like facebook.

“It’s a real event marketing and promotional department of sorts,” observes Lisa.

As the check list toward opening gets smaller, parents like the Gane’s and Shicatano’s await the big reveal, and take pride in the dedication and hard work it takes for everyone involved to put on the show. It’s truly a labor of love.

For Ralph, opening night can’t come soon enough.

“For the parent, it’s not just a performance, it’s a life challenge and you anxiously await the result, ready to celebrate or console as necessary. In either case your child grows and as parents that makes us happy and a little sad at the same time.”

“We are fortunate enough to work with a fantastic director and crew this year,” adds Regina. “We’ll be ready and hope the students and their families, friends and community enjoy the show!”