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Music event to raise money for stage curtains
Mountain Valley High School Principal Matt Gilbert and Curtain Call Committee member Diane Mitchell are pictured with holes in an end curtain in the Muskie Auditorium. The end curtains and the back curtain (seen behind them) will be replaced in the near future thanks in part to an event on April 20 called The Curtain Call, a night of great entertainment by local singers. (Times photos by Bruce Farrin)
RUMFORD -- It will be an encore of sorts of Voices of the Valley, but this time, some of the most talented people in the River Valley will provide a night of entertainment in an effort to raise money to help the very stage they will perform upon.
It's called Curtain Call, and the purpose is to raise money to replace some of torn and tattered stage curtains in the Muskie Auditorium, curtains that have been there since the school opened in 1969.
The event will take place at 6 p.m. at Mountain Valley High School on Saturday, April 20. Dan Richard will provide music for the such talents as Melanie Jordan, Peggy Briggette, Bob Bohren, Amanda Gilbert, Robie Schmersal, Hannah Robinson, Kayla Hall, Jodi and Ben Ellis, Jayshawn Wright, Elaine Michaud and Jason Lee. That list is expected to grow by showtime.
Tickets are $5 per person or $20 per family. Advanced tickets are available at Davis Florist on Congress Street in Rumford and at the front office at MVHS.
Diane Mitchell, part of The Curtain Call Committee, noted, Many of my fondest memories of my children and grandchildren happened on the stage of the auditorium of Mountain Valley High School. We are so fortunate to have an auditorium of this size."
Mitchell said the Voices of the Valley event they held here in February raised about $1,500 for the American Cancer Society. "For several years, we have noticed the stage curtains have become very tattered, they are pinned together with clothes pins in many places and the bottom is torn."
MVHS Principal Matt Gilbert said several years ago, they were given an estimate of $25,000 to replace all of the curtains. The project was proposed as part of the budget, but it was one of the items that was cut during the budget process.
He said the front curtain was recently replaced.
Gilbert, in his 13th year overall at the school, said collecting for the front curtain had been ongoing "for at least as long as I've been here."
The cost was $9,000 for an area curtain maker, Alan Osburn of East Sumner. The expense is part is due to the very large size of the curtains.
The funds to pay that cost came from things like community groups renting out the auditorium, 50/50 opportunities, collections at concerts, etc.
Gilbert, who has closed the front curtain a fair number of times over the years, said he appreciates how easy the new curtain closes.
The new curtain is also fire retardant, where the old one was not.
What's left now are the side and back curtains, which Osborn said he will do for a cost of $6,450.
Showing the back curtain, Gilbert pointed out there is a rip near the top, with the chain out on the bottom. The side curtains are even in poorer shape. Mitchell said they are tattered and close pins need to be used to close the large holes in them.
"It is overdue," said Gilbert.
With the front curtain replaced, why is the back curtain necessary?
Gilbert explained the back curtain coverage allows staging to go on during a performance without being a distraction to the audience.
He said the side and back curtains will be black in color, which will provide better contrast for video and photography.
"This stage is not just for the school but the community," said Gilbert, noting a variety of community events are held on this stage, including the Pre-K graduation, Veterans Day, DARE, town functions, adult education graduation, RAAPA, etc.
Checks for The Curtain Call project can be sent to Mountain Valley High School, Hancock Street, Rumford, ME 04276.
As Mitchell met in the school's front office with Gilbert, it was noted that a $100 check had been received towards the project.
"The letters (asking for donations) just went out," she said. "I sincerely hope you will be interested in helping us. Let’s make sure that the future stars in our lives, little dancers, singers, actors, etc. have the same great memories of the stage at the Mountain Valley Auditorium. Any donation will be greatly appreciated and all proceed go to the Curtain Fund."
Mitchell said a plaque will be created with the names of all donors.
Serving on the Curtain Call Committee with Diane are her husband, Brian Mitchell, Andrea York, Dan Richard, Casey Child and Cindy Milligan.